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UCPB VS.

BASCO
CALLEJO, SR., J.:
This is a petition for review
on certiorari assailing the Decision[1] of the
Court of Appeals dated March 30, 2000,
affirming, with modifications, the Decision[2] of
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Makati City,
Branch 146, which found the petitioner bank
liable for payment of damages and attorneys
fees.

The Case for the Respondent


Respondent Ruben E. Basco had been
employed with the petitioner United Coconut
Planters Bank (UCPB) for seventeen (17)
years.[3] He was also a stockholder thereof and
owned 804 common shares of stock at
the par value of P1.00.[4] He likewise maintained
a checking account with the bank at its Las Pias
Branch under Account No. 117-0015206.[5] Aside from his employment with the bank,
the respondent also worked as an underwriter
at the United Coconut Planters Life Association
(Coco Life), a subsidiary of UCPB since
December, 1992.[6] The respondent also
solicited insurance policies from UCPB
employees.
On June 19, 1995, the respondent
received a letter from the UCPB informing him
of the termination of his employment with the

bank for grave abuse of discretion and


authority, and breach of trust in the conduct of
his job as Bank Operations Manager of its
Olongapo Branch. The respondent thereafter
filed a complaint for illegal dismissal, nonpayment of salaries, and damages against the
bank in the National Labor Relations
Commission (NLRC), docketed as NLRC Cases
Nos. 00-09-05354-92 and 00-09-0535493. However, the respondent still frequented
the UCPB main office in Makati City to solicit
insurance policies from the employees
thereat. He also discussed the complaint he
filed against the bank with the said
employees.[7]
The respondent was also employed by AllAsia Life Insurance Company as an
underwriter. At one time, the lawyers of the
UCPB had an informal conference with him at
the head office of the bank, during which the
respondent was offered money so that the case
could be amicably settled. The respondent
revealed the incident to some of the bank
employees.[8]
On November 15, 1995, Luis Ma.
Ongsiapco, UCPB First Vice-President, Human
Resource Division, issued a Memorandum to
Jesus Belanio, the Vice-President of the
Security Department, informing him that the
respondents employment had been terminated
as of June 19, 1995, that the latter filed charges
against the bank and that the case was still ongoing. Ongsiapco instructed Belanio not to
allow the respondent access to all bank
premises.[9] Attached to the Memorandum was

a passport-size picture of the respondent. The


next day, the security guards on duty were
directed to strictly impose the security
procedure in conformity with Ongsiapcos
Memorandum.[10]
On December 7, 1995, the respondent,
through counsel, wrote Ongsiapco, requesting
that such Memorandum be reconsidered, and
that he be allowed entry into the bank
premises.[11]His counsel emphasized that
In the meantime, we are more concerned with
your denying Mr. Basco access to all bank
premises. As you may know, he is currently
connected with Cocolife as insurance agent.
Given his 17-year tenure with your bank, he has
established good relationships with many
UCPB employees, who comprise the main
source of his solicitations. In the course of his
work as insurance agent, he needs free access
to your bank premises, within reason, to add
the unnecessary. Your memorandum has
effectively curtailed his livelihood and he is
once again becoming a victim of another illegal
termination, so to speak. And Shakespeare
said: You take his life when you do take the
means whereby he lives.
Mr. Bascos work as an insurance agent directly
benefits UCPB, Cocolifes mother company. He
performs his work in your premises peacefully
without causing any disruption of bank
operations. To deny him access to your
premises for no reason except the pendency of
the labor case, the outcome of which is still in
doubt his liability, if any, certainly has not been

proven is a clear abuse of right in violation of


our clients rights. Denying him access to the
bank, which is of a quasi-public nature, is an
undue restriction on his freedom of
movement and right to make a livelihood,
comprising gross violations of his basic human
rights. (This is Human Rights Week, ironically).
We understand that Mr. Basco has been a
stockholder of record of 804 common shares of
the capital stock of UCPB since July 1983. As
such, he certainly deserves better treatment
than the one he has been receiving from your
office regarding property he partly owns. He is a
particle of corporate sovereignty. We doubt that
you can impose the functional equivalent of the
penalty of destierro on our client who really
wishes only to keep his small place in the sun,
to survive and breathe. No activity can be more
legitimate than to toil for a living. Let us live and
let live.[12]
In his reply dated December 12, 1995,
Ongsiapco informed the respondent that his
request could not be granted:
As you understand, we are a banking
institution; and as such, we deal with matters
involving confidences of clients. This is among
the many reasons why we, as a matter of
policy, do not allow non-employees to have free
access to areas where our employees work. Of
course, there are places where visitors may
meet our officers and employees to discuss
business matters; unfortunately, we have

limited areas where our officers and employees


can entertain non-official matters.
Furthermore, in keeping with good business
practices, the Bank prohibits solicitation,
peddling and selling of goods, service and other
commodities within its premises as it disrupts
the efficient performance and function of the
employees.
Please be assured that it is farthest from our
intention to discriminate against your client. In
the same vein, it is highly improper for us to
carve exceptions to our policies simply to
accommodate
your
clients
business
ventures.[13]
The respondent was undaunted. At 5:30
p.m. of December 21, 1995, he went to the
office of Junne Cacay, the Assistant Manager of
the Makati Branch. Cacay was then having a
conference with Bong Braganza, an officer of
the UCPB Sucat Branch. Cacay entertained the
respondent although the latter did have an
appointment. Cacay even informed him that he
had a friend who wanted to procure an
insurance policy.[14] Momentarily, a security
guard of the bank approached the respondent
and told him that it was already past office
hours. He was also reminded not to stay longer
than he should in the bank premises.[15] Cacay
told the guard that the respondent would be
leaving shortly.[16] The respondent was
embarrassed and told Cacay that he was
already leaving.[17]

At 1:30 p.m. of January 31, 1996, the


respondent went to the UCPB Makati Branch to
receive a check from Rene Jolo, a bank
employee, and to deposit money with the bank
for a friend.[18] He seated himself on a sofa
fronting the tellers booth[19] where other people
were also seated.[20] Meanwhile, two security
guards approached the respondent. The guards
showed him the Ongsiapcos Memorandum and
told him to leave the bank premises. The
respondent pleaded that he be allowed to finish
his transaction before leaving. One of the
security guards contacted the management and
was told to allow the respondent to finish his
transaction with the bank.
Momentarily, Jose Regino Casil, an
employee of the bank who was in the 7th floor of
the building, was asked by Rene Jolo to bring a
check to the respondent, who was waiting in the
lobby in front of the tellers booth.[21] Casil
agreed and went down to the ground floor of
the building, through the elevator. He was
standing in the working area near the
Automated Teller Machine (ATM) Section[22] in
the ground floor when he saw the respondent
standing near the sofa[23] near the two security
guards.[24] He motioned the respondent to come
and get the check, but the security guard
tapped the respondent on the shoulder and
prevented the latter from approaching
Casil. The latter then walked towards the
respondent and handed him the check from
Jolo.
Before leaving, the respondent requested
the security guard to log his presence in the

logbook. The guard did as requested and the


respondents presence was recorded in the
logbook.[25]
On March 11, 1996, the respondent filed a
complaint for damages against the petitioners
UCPB and Ongsiapco in the RTC of Manila,
alleging inter alia, that
12. It is readily apparent from this exchange of
correspondence
that
defendant
bank'
acknowledged reason for barring plaintiff from
its premises - the pending labor case is a mere
pretense for its real vindictive and invidious
intent: to prevent plaintiff, and plaintiff alone,
from carrying out his trade as an insurance
agent among defendant banks employees, a
practice openly and commonly allowed and
tolerated (encouraged even, for some favored
proverbial sacred cows) in the bank premises,
now being unjustly denied to plaintiff on
spurious grounds.
13. Defendants, to this day, have refused to act
on plaintiffs claim to be allowed even in only the
limited areas where [the banks] officers and
employees can entertain non-official matters
and have maintained the policy banning plaintiff
from all bank premises. As he had dared
exercised his legal right to question his
dismissal, he is being penalized with a variation
of destierro, available in criminal cases where
the standard however, after proper hearing, is
much more stringent and based on more noble
grounds than mere pique or vindictiveness.

14. This appallingly discriminatory policy


resulted in an incident on January 31, 1996 at
1:30 p.m. at defendant banks branch located at
its head office, which caused plaintiff
tremendous
undeserved
humiliation,
embarrassment, and loss of face.[26]
15. Defendants memorandum and the
consequent acts of defendants security guards,
together
with
defendant
Ongsiapcos
disingenuous letter of December 12, 1995, are
suggestive of malice and bad faith in derogation
of plaintiffs right and dignity as a human being
and citizen of this country, which acts have
caused
him
considerable
undeserved
embarrassment. Even if defendants, for the
sake of argument, may be acting within their
rights, they cannot exercise same abusively, as
they must, always, act with justice and in good
faith, and give plaintiff his due.[27]
The respondent prayed that, after trial,
judgment be rendered in his favor, as follows:
WHEREFORE, it is respectfully prayed that
judgment issue ordering defendants:
1. To rescind the directive to its agents barring
plaintiff from all bank premises as embodied in
the memorandum of November 15, 1995, and
allow plaintiff access to the premises of
defendant bank, including all its branches,
which are open to members of the general
public, during reasonable hours, to be able to
conduct lawful business without being subject
to invidious discrimination; and

2. To pay plaintiff P100,000.00 as moral


damages, P100,000.00 as exemplary damages,
and P50,000.00 by way of attorneys fees.
Plaintiff likewise prays for costs, interest, the
disbursements of this action, and such other
further relief as may be deemed just and
equitable in the premises.[28]
In their Answer to the complaint, the
petitioners interposed the following affirmative
defenses:
9. Plaintiff had been employed as Branch
Operations Officer, Olongapo Branch, of
defendant United Coconut Planters Bank.
In or about the period May to June 1992, he
was, together with other fellow officers and
employees, investigated by the bank in
connection with various anomalies. As a result
of the investigation, plaintiff was recommended
terminated on findings of fraud and abuse of
discretion in the performance of his work. He
was found by the banks Committee on
Employee Discipline to have been guilty of
committing or taking part in the commission of
the following:
a. Abuse of discretion in
connection with actions taken
beyond or outside the limits of his
authority.
b. Borrowing money from a
bank client.

c. Gross negligence or
dereliction of duty in the
implementation of bank policies or
valid orders from management.
d. Direct refusal or willful
failure to perform, or delay in
performing, an assigned task.
e. Fraud or willful breach of
trust in the conduct of his work.
f. Falsification or forgery of
bank records/documents.
10. Plaintiff thereafter decided to contest his
termination by filing an action for illegal
dismissal against the bank.
Despite the pendency of this litigation, plaintiff
was reported visiting employees of the bank in
their place of work during work hours, and
circulating false information concerning the
status of his case against the bank, including
alleged offers by management of a monetary
settlement for his illegal dismissal.
11. Defendants acted to protect the banks
interest by preventing plaintiffs access to the
banks offices, and at the same time informing
him of that decision.
Plaintiff purported to insist on seeing and talking
to the banks employees despite this decision,
claiming he needed to do this in connection with
his insurance solicitation activities, but the bank
has not reconsidered.

12. The complaint states, and plaintiff has, no


cause of action against defendants.[29]
The petitioners likewise interposed
compulsory counterclaims for damages.

The Case for the Petitioners


The petitioners adduced evidence that a
day or so before November 15, 1995, petitioner
Ongsiapco was at the 10th floor of the main
office of the bank where the training room of the
Management Development Training Office was
located. Some of the banks management
employees were then undergoing training. The
bank also kept important records in the said
floor.When Ongsiapco passed by, he saw the
respondent talking to some of the trainees.
Ongsiapco was surprised because nonparticipants in the training were not supposed to
be in the premises.[30] Besides, the respondent
had been dismissed and had filed complaints
against the bank with the NLRC. Ongsiapco
was worried that bank records could be
purloined and employees could be hurt.
The next day, Ongsiapco contacted the
training supervisor and inquired why the
respondent was in the training room the day
before. The supervisor replied that he did not
know why.[31]Thus, on November 15, 1995,
Ongsiapco issued a Memorandum to Belanio,
the Vice-President for Security Services,
directing the latter not to allow the respondent
access to the bank premises near the working

area.[32] The said Memorandum was circulated


by the Chief of Security to the security guards
and bank employees.
At about 12:30 p.m. on January 31, 1996,
Security Guard Raul Caspe, a substitute for the
regular guard who was on leave, noticed the
respondent seated on the sofa in front of the
tellers booth.[33] Caspe notified his superior of
the respondents presence, and was instructed
not to confront the respondent if the latter was
going
to
make
a
deposit
or
[34]
withdrawal. Caspe was also instructed not to
allow the respondent to go to the upper floors of
the building.[35] The respondent went to the
tellers booth and, after a while, seated himself
anew on the sofa.Momentarily, Caspe noticed
Casil, another employee of the bank who was
at the working section of the Deposit Service
Department (DSD), motioning to the respondent
to get the check. The latter stood up and
proceeded in the direction of Casils
workstation. After the respondent had taken
about six to seven paces from the sofa, Caspe
and the company guard approached him. The
guards
politely
showed
Ongsiapcos
Memorandum to the respondent and told the
latter that he was not allowed to enter the DSD
working area; it was lunch break and no
outsider was allowed in that area.[36] The
respondent looked at the Memorandum and
complied.
On May 29, 1998, the trial court rendered
judgment in favor of the respondent. The fallo of
the decision reads:

WHEREFORE,
premises
considered,
defendants are hereby adjudged liable to
plaintiff and orders them to rescind and setaside the Memorandum of November 15, 1995
and orders them to pay plaintiff the following:
1) the amount of P100,000.00 as moral
damages;
2) the amount of P50,000.00 as
exemplary damages;
3) P50,000.00 for and as attorneys
fees;
4) Cost of suit.
Defendants counterclaim is dismissed for lack
of merit.
SO ORDERED.[37]
The trial court held that the petitioners
abused their right; hence, were liable to the
respondent for damages under Article 19 of the
New Civil Code.
The petitioners appealed the decision to
the Court of Appeals and raised the following
issues:
4.1 Did the appellants abuse their right when
they issued the Memorandum?
4.2 Did the appellants abuse their right when
Basco was asked to leave the bank premises,
in implementation of the Memorandum, on 21
December 1995?

4.3. Did the appellants abuse their right when


Basco was asked to leave the bank premises,
in implementation of the Memorandum, on 31
January 1995?
4.4. Is Basco entitled to moral and exemplary
damages and attorneys fees?
4.5. Are the appellants entitled to their
counterclaim?[38]
The CA rendered a Decision on March 30,
2000, affirming the decision of the RTC with
modifications. The CA deleted the awards for
moral and exemplary damages, but ordered the
petitioner bank to pay nominal damages on its
finding that latter abused its right when its
security guards stopped the respondent from
proceeding to the working area near the ATM
section to get the check from Casil. The
decretal portion of the decision reads:
WHEREFORE, the Decision of the Regional
Trial Court dated May 29, 1998 is hereby
MODIFIED as follows:
1. The awards for moral and exemplary
damages are deleted;
2. The award for attorneys fees is deleted;
3. The order rescinding Memorandum dated
November 15, 1995 is set aside; and
4. UCPB is ordered to pay nominal damages in
the amount of P25,000.00 to plaintiff-appellee.

Costs de oficio.[39]

The Present Petition


The petitioners now raise the following
issues before this Court:
I. Whether or not the appellate court
erred when it found that UCPB
excessively exercised its right to
self-help to the detriment of
Basco as a depositor, when on
January 31, 1996, its security
personnel stopped respondent
from proceeding to the area
restricted to UCPBs employees.
II. Whether or not the appellate court
erred when it ruled that
respondent is entitled to nominal
damages.
III.

Whether or not the


appellate court erred when
it did not award the
petitioners valid and lawful
counterclaim.[40]

The core issues are the following: (a)


whether or not the petitioner bank abused its
right when it issued, through petitioner
Ongsiapco, the Memorandum barring the
respondent access to all bank premises; (b)
whether or not petitioner bank is liable for
nominal damages in view of the incident
involving its security guard Caspe, who stopped

the respondent from proceeding to the working


area of the ATM section to get the check from
Casil; and (c) whether or not the petitioner bank
is entitled to damages on its counterclaim.

The Ruling of the Court


On the first issue, the petitioners aver that
the petitioner bank has the right to prohibit the
respondent from access to all bank premises
under Article 429 of the New Civil Code, which
provides that:
Art. 429. The owner or lawful possessor of a
thing has the right to exclude any person from
the enjoyment and disposal thereof. For this
purpose, he may use such force as may be
reasonably necessary to repel or prevent an
actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion
or usurpation of his property.
The petitioners contend that the provision
which enunciates the principle of self-help
applies when there is a legitimate necessity to
personally or through another, prevent not only
an unlawful, actual, but also a threatened
unlawful aggression or usurpation of its
properties and records, and its personnel and
customers/clients who are in its premises. The
petitioners assert that petitioner Ongsiapco
issued his Memorandum dated November 15,
1995 because the respondent had been
dismissed from his employment for varied grave
offenses; hence, his presence in the premises

of the bank posed a threat to the integrity of its


records and to the persons of its personnel.
Besides, the petitioners contend, the
respondent, while in the bank premises,
conversed with bank employees about his
complaint for illegal dismissal against the
petitioner bank then pending before the Labor
Arbiter, including negotiations with the petitioner
banks counsels for an amicable settlement of
the said case.
The respondent, for his part, avers that
Article 429 of the New Civil Code does not give
to the petitioner bank the absolute right to
exclude him, a stockholder and a depositor,
from having access to the bank premises,
absent any clear and convincing evidence that
his presence therein posed an imminent threat
or peril to its property and records, and the
persons of its customers/clients.
We agree with the respondent bank that it
has the right to exclude certain individuals from
its premises or to limit their access thereto as to
time, to protect, not only its premises and
records, but also the persons of its personnel
and its customers/clients while in the
premises. After all, by its very nature, the
business of the petitioner bank is so impressed
with public trust; banks are mandated to
exercise a higher degree of diligence in the
handling of its affairs than that expected of an
ordinary business enterprise.[41] Banks handle
transactions involving millions of pesos and
properties worth considerable sums of
money. The banking business will thrive only as
long as it maintains the trust and confidence of

its customers/clients. Indeed, the very nature of


their work, the degree of responsibility, care
and trustworthiness expected of officials and
employees of the bank is far greater than those
of ordinary officers and employees in the other
business firms.[42] Hence, no effort must be
spared by banks and their officers and
employees to ensure and preserve the trust and
confidence of the general public and its
customers/clients, as well as the integrity of its
records and the safety and well being of its
customers/clients while in its premises. For the
said purpose, banks may impose reasonable
conditions or limitations to access by nonemployees to its premises and records, such as
the exclusion of non-employees from the
working areas for employees, even absent any
imminent or actual unlawful aggression on or an
invasion of its properties or usurpation thereof,
provided that such limitations are not contrary
to the law.[43]
It bears stressing that property rights must
be considered, for many purposes, not as
absolute, unrestricted dominions but as an
aggregation of qualified privileges, the limits of
which are prescribed by the equality of rights,
and the correlation of rights and obligations
necessary for the highest enjoyment of property
by
the
entire
community
of
proprietors.[44] Indeed,
inRellosa
vs.
Pellosis,[45] we held that:
Petitioner might verily be the owner of the land,
with the right to enjoy and to exclude any
person from the enjoyment and disposal
thereof, but the exercise of these rights is not

without limitations. The abuse of rights rule


established in Article 19 of the Civil Code
requires every person to act with justice, to give
everyone his due; and to observe honesty and
good faith. When right is exercised in a manner
which discards these norms resulting in
damage to another, a legal wrong is committed
for which the actor can be held accountable.
Rights of property, like all other social and
conventional rights, are subject to such
reasonable limitations in their enjoyment and to
such reasonable restraints established by
law.[46]
In this case, the Memorandum of the
petitioner Ongsiapco dated November 15,
1995, reads as follows:
MEMO TO : MR. JESUS M. BELANIO
Vice President
Security Department
D A T E : 15 November 1995
R E : MR. RUBEN E. BASCO
Please be advised that Mr. Ruben E. Basco
was terminated for a cause by the Bank on 19
June 1992. He filed charges against the bank
and the case is still on-going.
In view of this, he should not be allowed access
to all bank premises.
(Sgd.) LUIS MA. ONGSIAPCO

First Vice President


Human Resource Division
TO: ALL GUARDS
ON DUTY
Strictly adhere/impose Security Procedure RE:
Admission to Bank premises.
For your compliance.
re) 11/16/95

On its face, the Memorandum barred the


respondent, a stockholder of the petitioner bank
and one of its depositors, from gaining access
to
all
bank
premises
under
all
circumstances.The said Memorandum is allembracing and admits of no exceptions
whatsoever. Moreover, the security guards
were enjoined to strictly implement the same.
We agree that the petitioner may prohibit
non-employees from entering the working area
of the ATM section. However, under the said
Memorandum, even if the respondent wished to
go to the bank to encash a check drawn and
issued to him by a depositor of the petitioner
bank in payment ofJ an obligation, or to withdraw
from his accountO therein, or to transact
business with the Ssaid bank and exercise his
right as a depositor,
E he could not do so as he
was barred from entry into the bank. Even if the
respondent wantedGto go to the petitioner bank
to confer with the
corporate secretary in
.
connection with his shares of stock therein, he
could not do so,T since as stated in the
Memorandum of Opetitioner Ongsiapco, he
would not be allowed
R access to all the bank
premises. The saidI Memorandum, as worded,
violates the rightA of the respondent as a
stockholder or a Gdepositor of the petitioner
bank, for being capricious
and arbitrary.
A
[

The Memorandum
even contravenes
4
Article XII, paragraph
4
(4.1
and 4.2) of the
7
Code of Ethics issued
by
the
petitioner bank
]
itself, which provides that one whose
employment had been terminated by the

petitioner bank may, nevertheless, be allowed


access to bank premises, thus:
4.1 As a client of the Bank in the transaction of
a regular bank-client activity.
4.2 When the offending party is on official
business concerning his employment with the
Bank with the prior approval and supervision of
the Head of HRD or of the Division Head, or of
the Branch Head in case of branches.[48]
For another, the Memorandum, as
worded, is contrary to the intention of the
petitioners. Evidently, the petitioners did not
intend to bar the respondent from access to all
bank premises under all circumstances. When
he testified, petitioner Ongsiapco admitted that
a bank employee whose services had been
terminated may be allowed to see an employee
of the bank and may be allowed access to the
bank premises under certain conditions, viz:
ATTY. R. ALIKPALA
Q So

the permission you are


referring to is merely a
permission to be granted by the
security guard?

A No, sir, not the security guard. The


security will call the office
where they are going. Because
this is the same procedure they
do for visitors. Anybody who
wants to see anybody in the
bank before they are allowed

Q So

access or entry, they call up the


department or the division.

Q Is this rule written down in black


and white anywhere?

I want to clarify, Mr.


Witness. Former
bank
employees are not allowed
within the bank premises until
after the security guard call,
which ever department they are
headed for, and that they give
the permission and they tell the
security guard to allow the
person?

A I think this is more of a security


procedure.

A Yes, Sir, that is the usual


procedure.
Q If an employee resigned from the
bank, same treatment?

Q But being a huge financial


institution, we expect Cocobank
has its procedure written down
in black and white?
ATTY. A. BATUHAN
Your

Honor,
objection. Argumentative, Your
Honor.
There is no question posed at all,
Your Honor.
COURT

A Yes, Sir.

Answer. Is there any guideline?

Q If an employee was terminated by


the bank for cause, same
treatment?

A There must be a guideline of the


security.

A Yes, Sir.
Q Outsiders who are not employees
or who were never employees
of the bank also must ask
permission?
A Yes, Sir. Because there is a
security control at the lobby.
Q You mentioned that this is a
general rule?
A Yes, Sir.

Q But you are not very familiar about


the security procedures?
A Yes, Sir.
ATTY. R. ALIKPALA
Q Mr. Ongsiapco, the agency that
you hired follows certain
procedures?
A Yes, Sir.
Q Which of course are under the
direct control and supervision
of the bank?

A Yes, Sir.
Q And did the security agency have
any of this procedure written
down?
A It will be given to them by the
Security Department, because
they are under the Security
Department.
Q But if an employee is only entering
the ground floor bank area,
where customers of the bank
are normally allowed, whether
depositors or not, they dont
need to ask for express
permission, is that correct?
A Yes, if they are client.
Q Even if they are not client, but let
us say they have to encash a
check paid to them by
someone?

petitioner bank also has access to the bank


premises, except those areas reserved for its
officers and employees, such as the
working areas:
ATTY. R. ALIKPALA
Q So Mr. Witness, just for the sake
of clarity. The ground floor area
is where the regular consumer
banking
services
are
held? What do you call this
portion?
A That is the Deposit Servicing
Department.
Q Where the .
A Where the
business.

people

transact

ATTY. R. ALIKAPALA
Q They are freely allowed in this
area?

A He is a client then.

A Yes, Sir.

Q But he is not yet a client when he


enters the bank premises. He
only
becomes you
know
because you do not all these
people, you do not know every
client of the bank so you just
allow them inside the bank?

Q This is the area where there are


counters, Teller, where a
person would normally go to let
us say open a bank account or
to request for managers check,
is that correct?

A Yes, the premises.[49]


Petitioner Ongsiapco also testified that a
former employee who is a customer/client of the

A Yes, Sir.
Q So, in this portion, no, I mean
beyond this portion, meaning
the working areas and second

floor up, outsiders will have to


ask express permission from
the security guard?
A Yes, Sir.
Q And you say that the security
guards are instructed to verify
the purpose of every person
who goes into this area?
A As far as I know, sir.[50]
It behooved the petitioners to revise such
Memorandum to conform to its Code of Ethics
and their intentions when it was issued, absent
facts
and
circumstances
that
occurred pendente lite which warrant the
retention of the Memorandum as presently
worded.
On the second issue, the Court of Appeals
ruled that the petitioner bank is liable for
nominal damages to the respondent despite its
finding that the petitioners had the right to issue
the Memorandum. The CA ratiocinated that the
petitioner bank should have allowed the
respondent to walk towards the restricted area
of the ATM section until they were sure that he
had entered such area, and only then could the
guards enforce the Memorandum of petitioner
Ongsiapco. The Court of Appeals ruled that for
such failure of the security guards, the
petitioner bank thereby abused its right of selfhelp and violated the respondent's right as one
of its depositors:
With respect, however, to the second incident
on January 31, 1996, it appears that although

according to UCPB security personnel they


tried to stop plaintiff-appellee from proceeding
to the stairs leading to the upper floors, which
were limited to bank personnel only (TSN, pp.
6-9, June 4, 1997), the said act exposed
plaintiff-appellee to humiliation considering that
it was done in full view of other bank
customers. UCPB security personnel should
have waited until they were sure that plaintiffappellee had entered the restricted areas and
then implemented the memorandum order by
asking him to leave the premises. Technically,
plaintiff-appellee was still in the depositing area
when UCPB security personnel approached
him. In this case, UCPBs exercise of its right to
self-help was in excess and abusive to the
detriment of the right of plaintiff-appellee as
depositor of said Bank, hence, warranting the
award of nominal damages in favor of plaintiffappellee. Nominal damages are adjudicated in
order that a right of a plaintiff, which has been
violated or invaded by the defendant, may be
vindicated or recognized and not for the
purpose of indemnifying any loss suffered by
him (Japan Airlines vs. Court of Appeals, 294
SCRA 19).[51]
The petitioners contend that the
respondent is not entitled to nominal damages
and that the appellate court erred in so ruling
for the following reasons: (a) the respondent
failed to prove that the petitioner bank violated
any of his rights; (b) the respondent did not
suffer any humiliation because of the overt acts
of the security guards; (c) even if the
respondent did suffer humiliation, there was no

breach of duty committed by the petitioner bank


since its security guards politely asked the
respondent not to proceed to the working area
of the ATM section because they merely acted
pursuant to the Memorandum of petitioner
Ongsiapco, and accordingly, under Article 429
of the New Civil Code, this is a case of damnum
absque injuria;[52] and (d) the respondent staged
the whole incident so that he could create
evidence to file suit against the petitioners.
We rule in favor of the petitioners.
The evidence on record shows that Casil
was in the working area of the ATM section on
the ground floor when he motioned the
respondent to approach him and receive the
check. The respondent then stood up and
walked
towards
the
direction
of
Casil. Indubitably, the respondent was set to
enter the working area, where non-employees
were prohibited entry; from there, the
respondent could go up to the upper floors of
the banks premises through the elevator or the
stairway. Caspe and the company guard had no
other recourse but prevent the respondent from
going to and entering such working area. The
security guards need not have waited for the
respondent to actually commence entering the
working area before stopping the latter.Indeed,
it would have been more embarrassing for the
respondent to have started walking to the
working area only to be halted by two uniformed
security guards and disallowed entry, in full
view of bank customers. It bears stressing that
the security guards were polite to the
respondent and even apologized for any

inconvenience caused him. The respondent


could have just motioned to Casil to give him
the check at the lobby near the tellers booth,
instead of proceeding to and entering the
working area himself, which the respondent
knew to be an area off-limits to non-employees.
He did not.
The respondent failed to adduce evidence
other than his testimony that people in the
ground floor of the petitioner bank saw him
being stopped from proceeding to the working
area of the bank. Evidently, the respondent did
not suffer embarrassment, inconvenience or
discomfort which, however, partakes of the
nature of damnum absque injuria, i.e. damage
without injury or damage inflicted without
injustice, or loss or damage without violation of
legal rights, or a wrong due to a pain for which
the law provides no remedy.[53] Hence, the
award of nominal damages by the Court of
Appeals should be deleted.
On the third issue, we now hold that the
petitioner bank is not entitled to damages and
attorneys fees as its counterclaim. There is no
evidence on record that the respondent acted in
bad faith or with malice in filing his complaint
against the petitioners. Well-settled is the rule
that the commencement of an action does
not per se make the action wrongful and subject
the action to damages, for the law could not
have meant to impose a penalty on the right to
litigate.
We reiterate case law that if damages
result from a partys exercise of a right, it
is damnum absque injuria.[54]

IN LIGHT OF ALL THE FOREGOING, the


petition is GRANTED. The assailed Decision of
the Court of Appeals is REVERSED and SET
ASIDE. The complaint of the respondent in the
trial court and the counterclaims of the
petitioners are DISMISSED.
No costs.
SO ORDERED.
Padre vs. Badillo
NILO PADRE,
Petitioner,

G.R. No. 165423

- versus -

Present:

FRUCTOSA
CORONA, C.
J.,
BADILLO,
Chairperson,
FEDILA BADILLO,
VELASCO, JR.,
PRESENTACION
LEONARDO-DE
CABALLES,
CASTRO,
EDWINA VICARIO
DEL CASTILLO, and
(d)
represented
by
PEREZ, JJ.
MARY JOY
VICARIO-ORBETA
and
NELSON BADILLO,
Promulgated:
Respondents.
January 19, 2011
x------------------------------------------------------------------x
DECISION

DEL CASTILLO, J.:


A void judgment is no judgment at all. It
cannot be the source of any right nor the creator of
any obligation. All acts performed pursuant to it and
all claims emanating from it have no legal effect.[1]
This petition for review on certiorari assails
the Orders dated July 21 and September 20,
2004[2] issued by the Regional Trial Court (RTC) of
Allen, Northern Samar, Branch 23 in Special Civil
Action No. A-927, which affirmed the ruling of the
Municipal Trial Court (MTC) of San Isidro, Northern
Samar that it has jurisdiction to try Civil Case No.
104.
Factual Antecedents
On October 13, 1986, the RTC of
Allen, Northern Samar, Branch 23, rendered
judgment[3] in Civil Case No. A-514 for Ownership
and Recovery of Possession with Damages in favor
of therein plaintiffs Fructosa Badillo, Fedila Badillo,
Edwina Badillo, Presentacion Badillo and Nelson
Badillo and against therein defendants, including
Consesa Padre. The dispositive portion of the said
Decision reads:
WHEREFORE,
on
preponderance of evidence, the
Court hereby renders judgment
in favor of the plaintiffs and
against the defendants, declaring
and ordering as follows:

1.
That
the
herein plaintiffs are the lawful
owners of the five-sixth (5/6)
portion of Lot No. 4080, Pls-54,
registered in Original Certificate
of Title No. 736, more
particularly, the said five-sixth
portion is described, delineated
and/or indicated in the Sketch
Plan which is now marked as
Exhibit B-1;
2.
That the said
five-sixth (5/6) portion which [is]
herein adjudged as being owned
by the herein plaintiffs, include
the portions of land presently
being occupied by defendants x
x x, Concesa Padre, x x x;
3.
Ordering the
defendants mentioned in No. 2
hereof to vacate x x x the lots
respectively occupied by them
and restore to [the herein
plaintiffs]
the
material
possessions thereof;
4.
Condemning
and ordering each of the same
defendants herein above-named
to pay plaintiffs the amount
of P100.00 per month, as
monthly rental, starting from
January 19, 1980, until the lots in

question shall have been finally


restored to the plaintiffs; and
5.
Condemning
and ordering the herein
defendants named above to
jointly and severally pay the
plaintiffs
the
amount
of P5,000.00
representing
attorneys fees and P2,000.00 as
litigation expenses, and to pay
the costs of suit.
SO ORDERED.[4]
This Decision became final and executory on
November 5, 1986.[5]
On December 29, 1997, the Badillo family filed
another complaint against those who occupy their
property which included some of the defendants in
Civil Case No. A-514.[6] The case was filed with the
MTC of San Isidro, Northern Samar and was
docketed as Civil Case No. 104.[7] As Consesa
Padre had already died in 1989, her heir, Nilo Padre
(Nilo), was impleaded as one of the
defendants. While some of the defendants filed their
respective answers, Nilo was one of those who were
declared in default for failure to file their answer to the
complaint.[8]
Although denominated as one for Ownership and
Possession, the Badillo family alleged in their
complaint in Civil Case No. 104 viz:

4. That plaintiffs are the


joint owners of Lot No. 4080. Pls54, with a total area of 10,167
square meters, covered by OCT
No. 736 in the name of Eutequio
Badillo, deceased husband of
plaintiff Fructosa Badillo and
father of the rest of the other
plaintiffs, covered by Tax
Declaration No. 9160 and
assessed at P26,940.00;
5. That plaintiffs in Civil
Case No. A-514, entitled
Fructosa Badillo versus Celso
Castillo, et. al., were the
prevailing parties in the aforesaid
case as evidenced by the hereto
attached copy of the decision
rendered by the Regional Trial
Court in the above-entitled case
and marked as Annex A and
made integral part of this
complaint;
6. That after the
judgment in the abovementioned case became final,
the same was executed as
evidenced by a copy of the
writ of execution hereto
attached as Annex B and
made integral part hereof;
7. That despite the
service of the writ of execution
and vacating the properties x

x x illegally occupied by the


afore-mentioned defendants,
[said defendants] re-entered
the property in 1990 after the
execution and refused to
vacate the same [thereby]
reasserting their claims of
ownership x x x despite
repeated demands;
8. That all attempts
towards a peaceful settlement of
the matter outside of Court to
avoid a civil suit, such as
referring the matter of the Brgy.
Captain and the Brgy. Lupon of
Brgy. Alegria, San Isidro, N.
Samar were of no avail as the
defendants refused to heed
lawful demands of plaintiffs to x x
x vacate the premises[. I]nstead,
defendants claimed ownership of
the property in question [and]
refused to vacate the same
despite repeated demands
[such] that having lost all
peaceful remedies, plaintiffs
were constrained to file this
suit. Certificate to file Action is
hereby attached and marked as
Annex C and made integral part
hereof;[9] (Emphasis supplied.)
Ruling of the Municipal Trial Court

The MTC rendered judgment[10] on July 17,


2003. Interpreting the suit of the Badillo family as an
action to revive the dormant judgment in Civil Case
No. A-514, the court recognized the right of the
plaintiffs to finally have such judgment enforced. The
MTC disposed of the case as follows:
WHEREFORE,
judgment is ordered reviving the
previous judgment of the
Regional Trial Court there being,
and still, preponderance of
evidence in favor of plaintiffs, as
follows:
1.
That
the
herein plaintiffs are the lawful
owners of the five-sixth (5/6)
portion of Lot No. 4080, Pls-54,
registered in Original Certificate
of Title No. 730, more particularly
x x x described, delineated
and/or indicated in the Sketch
Plan which is now marked as
Exhibit B-1;
2.
That the said
five-sixth portion which is herein
adjudged as being owne[d] by
herein plaintiffs, includes the
portions of land presently being
occupied by defendants Victor
Eulin, Consesa Padre, Celso
Castillo, Leo Atiga, Santos
Corollo,
Iego
Armogela,
Salustiano Millano, Milagros Gile,
Pusay Enting, Galeleo Pilapil,

more particularly indicated in


Exhibit B-1 and marked as
Exhibits B-3, B-4, B-5, B-6, B-7,
B-8, B-9, B-10, B-11, B-12, and
B-13, respectively;
3.
Ordering the
defendants mentioned in No. 2,
hereof
and
THOSE
PRESENTLY NAMED AS
PARTY-DEFENDANTS IN THIS
REVIVAL OF JUDGMENT AND
THOSE ACTING IN PRIVITY to
vacate from the lots respectively
occupied by them and restore
[to] the herein plaintiff x x x the
material possession thereof;
4.
Condemning
and ordering each of the same
defendants named in the
previous civil case and those
NAMED ANEW to jointly and
severally pay the plaintiffs the
amount
of P5,000.00,
representing attorneys fees,
and P2,000.00 as litigation
expenses;
5.
CONDEMNI
NG
ALL
DEFENDANTS
HEREIN TO PAY EXEMPLARY
DAMAGES
FOR
OBSTINATELY
VIOLATING
THE DECISION OF THE
COURT
JOINTLY
AND
SEVERALLY X X X THE

AMOUNT OF P5,000.00, and to


pay the costs of the suit.
SO ORDERED.[11]
Nilo thereafter appeared and moved to
reconsider[12] the MTC judgment. He argued that the
MTC is without jurisdiction over the case, opining that
the action for revival of judgment is a real action and
should be filed with the same court, i.e., the RTC,
which rendered the decision sought to be
revived. Or, assuming arguendo that the MTC has
jurisdiction over real actions, it must be noted that the
subject property is assessed at P26,940.00, an
amount beyond the P20,000.00 limit for the MTC to
have jurisdiction over real actions, in accordance with
Republic Act (RA) No. 7691.[13] Nilo also contended
that the action is dismissible for a) lack of certificate of
non-forum shopping in the complaint and b)
prescription, the complaint for revival of judgment
having been filed beyond the 10-year reglementary
period[14] from the time the judgment sought to be
revived became final and executory in November
1986.
The MTC denied the motion for reconsideration.[15] It
held that the case is an action for revival of judgment
and not an action for ownership and possession,
which had already long been settled. To the MTC,
the former is a personal action under Section 2, Rule
4 of the Rules of Court which may be filed, at the
election of plaintiffs, either at the court of the place
where they reside or where the defendants
reside. The court found excusable the absence of the
certification against forum shopping, justifying that the
action filed before it is merely a continuation of the
previous suit for ownership. Moreover, the counsel
for the Badillo family, a nonagenarian, may not yet

have been familiar with the rule when Civil Case No.
104 was filed. To it, this mistake should not prejudice
the Badillo family who deserve to possess and enjoy
their properties.
Ruling of the Regional Trial Court
By way of a special civil action for certiorari, Nilo
elevated the case to the RTC to question the MTCs
jurisdiction,[16] reiterating the same grounds he had
raised before the MTC. The case was docketed as
Special Civil Action No. A-927.
On July 21, 2004, however, the RTC
dismissed said petition[17] on the ground that it was
filed late. Moreover, the RTC upheld the MTCs
jurisdiction over the case, affirming the MTCs
ratiocination that an action for enforcement of a
dormant judgment is a personal action, and hence
may be filed either at the court of the place where
plaintiffs reside or where the defendants reside.
In his Motion for Reconsideration,[18] Nilo contended
that his petition with the RTC was timely filed as
shown by the registry receipt dated March 1,
2004,[19] stamped on the mailing envelope he used in
filing said petition. He argued that this date of mailing
is also the date of filing. He also contended that the
RTCs Decision was bereft of any explanation as to
why it ruled that the case is a personal action. He
further alleged that the RTC failed to discuss the
issues of prescription and non-compliance with the
rule against forum shopping.
In its Order dated September 20, 2004, the RTC
denied the motion for reconsideration. It said:

Assuming that the date of postin


g was March 1, 2004, as shown
in the registry
receipts, still the 60-day
reglementary period had already
lapsed with December 30, 2003
as the reckoning period when
petitioner
received
the
December 9, 2003 Order of Hon.
Judge Jose A. Benesisto. With
the month of February, 2004
having 29 days, it is now clear
that the petition was filed sixty
one (61) days after; hence, there
is no timeliness of the petition to
speak of.
Civil Case No. 104 is an ordinary
action to enforce a dormant
judgment filed by plaintiffs
against defendants. Being an
action for the enforcement of
dormant judgment for damages
is a personal one and should be
brought in any province where
the plaintiff or defendant resides,
at the option of the plaintiff. As
regards prescription, the present
rule now is, the prescriptive
period commences to run anew
from the finality of the revived
judgment. A revived judgment is
enforceable again by motion
within five years and thereafter
by another action within ten
years from the finality of the
revived judgment. There is,

therefore, no prescription or
beyond the statute of limitations
to speak [sic] in the instant
case. Petitioners contention must
therefore fail.
It is but proper and legal that the
plaintiffs in Civil Case No. 514 of
which they are the prevailing
parties to institute for the
enforcement of a dormant
judgment [which right] they have
failed to exercise x x x for more
than a decade. Being an
ordinary action to enforce a
dormant judgment, not even
testimonial
evidence
is
necessary to enforce such
judgment because the decision
had long obtained its finality.
x x x x[20]
Hence, this petition.
Petitioners Arguments
Nilo finds the RTCs adverse ruling as wanting in
sufficient explanation as to the factual and legal
bases for upholding the MTC. He also highlights the
failure of the Badillo family to attach to their complaint
a certificate of non-forum shopping. Petitioner also
argues that the date of mailing of his petition with the
RTC is the date of his filing. He stressed that the filing
of his petition on March 1, 2004 was well within the
prescriptive period. As the 60th day from December

30, 2003 fell on a Saturday, he maintains that the


Rules of Court allows him to file his petition on the
next working day, which is March 1, 2004, a Monday.
As have already been raised in the courts below, Nilo
mentions the
following grounds for the dismissal of the action
against him before the MTC:
a)
The MTC lacks jurisdiction. Nilo
reiterates that the prime objective of the Badillo family
in Civil Case No. 104 is to recover real property,
which makes it a real action. Citing the case
of Aldeguer v. Gemelo,[21] he contends that this suit
must be brought before the RTC of Allen, Northern
Samar. Besides, the assessed value of the land in
controversy, i.e., P26,940.00, divests the MTC of
jurisdiction.
b)
Prescription. Nilo claims that the
Badillo familys suit had already lapsed as they
allowed 11 years to pass without resorting to any
legal remedy before filing the action for revival of
judgment. Although the Badillo family moved for the
issuance of a writ of execution in Civil Case No. A514, the same did not interrupt the running of the
period to have the judgment enforced by motion or
by action.
Respondents Arguments
While impliedly acknowledging that Nilo seasonably
filed his petition for certiorari with the RTC, the Badillo
family note that he should have filed an appeal
before the RTC. They claim that they properly filed
their case, a personal action, with the MTC of San
Isidro, Northern Samar as they are allowed under

Section 2, Rule 4 of the Rules of Court to elect the


venue as to where to file their case.
Granting that their action is considered a
revival of judgment, the Badillos claim that they filed
their suit within the 10-year period. They contend that
in filing Civil Case No. 104 in December 1997, the
prescriptive period should not be counted from the
finality of judgment in Civil Case No. A-514, but
should be reckoned from August 22, 1989, when the
RTC issued an Order that considered as
abandoned the motion to declare the defendants in d
efault in the contempt
proceedings.
Issue
The question that should be settled is whether the
RTC correctly affirmed the MTC ruling that it has
jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 104.
Our Ruling
Indeed, [t]he existence and availability of the right of
appeal proscribes a resort to certiorari.[22] The court a
quo could have instead dismissed Nilos petition on
the ground that this question should have been
raised by way of an appeal.[23] This rule is subject to
exceptions, such as when the writs issued are null
and void or when the questioned order amounts to
an oppressive exercise of judicial authority.[24] As will
be later on discussed, the RTC, although it ultimately
erred in its judgment, was nevertheless correct in
entertaining the special civil action forcertiorari. The
exceptions we mentioned apply in the case at bar, as
it turns out that petitioners jurisdictional objection has
compelling basis.

Timeliness of the petition for certiorari


The petition for certiorari before the RTC
was timely filed. If the pleading filed was not done
personally, the date of mailing, as stamped on the
envelope or the registry receipt, is considered as the
date of filing.[25] By way of registered mail, Nilo filed
his petition for certiorari with the RTC on March 1,
2004, as indicated in the date stamped on its
envelope. From the time Nilo received on December
30, 2003 the MTCs denial of his motion for
reconsideration, the last day for him to file his petition
with the RTC fell on February 28, 2004, a
Saturday. Under the Rules, should the last day of the
period to file a pleading fall on a Saturday, a Sunday,
or a legal holiday, a litigant is allowed to file his or her
pleading on the next working day,[26] which in the
case at bar, fell on a Monday, i.e., March 1, 2004.
Jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 104
We shall now look into the core argument
of Nilo anent the MTCs lack of jurisdiction over the
case and the alleged prescription of the action.
[W]hat determines the nature of the action
and which court has jurisdiction over it are the
allegations in the complaint and the character of the
relief sought.[27] In their complaint in Civil Case No.
104, some of the allegations of the Badillo family,
which petitioner never opposed and are thus
deemed admitted by him, states:
4. That plaintiffs are the
joint owners of Lot No. 4080. Pls54, with a total area of 10,167
square meters, covered by OCT

No. 736 in the name of Eutequio


Badillo, deceased husband of
plaintiff Fructosa Badillo and
father of the rest of the other
plaintiffs, covered by Tax
Declaration No. 9160 and
assessed at P26,940.00;

execution and refused to


vacate the same [thereby]
reasserting their claims of
ownership over [the disputed
properties] and refused to
vacate the same despite
repeated demands;

5. That plaintiffs in Civil


Case No. A-514, entitled
Fructosa Badillo versus Celso
Castillo, et. al., were the
prevailing parties in the aforesaid
case as evidenced by the hereto
attached copy of the decision
rendered by the Regional Trial
Court in the above-entitled case
and marked as Annex A and
made integral part of this
complaint;

8. That all attempts towards a


peaceful settlement of the matter
outside of Court to avoid a civil
suit, such as referring the matter
of the Brgy. Captain and the
Brgy.
Lupon
of
Brgy.
Alegria, San Isidro, N. Samar
were of no avail as the
defendants refused to heed
lawful demands of plaintiffs to x x
x vacate the premises[. I]nstead,
defendants claimed ownership of
the property in question refused
to vacate the same despite
repeated demands [such] that
having lost all peaceful remedies,
plaintiffs were constrained to file
this suit. Certificate to file Action
is hereby attached and marked
as Annex C and made integral
part
hereof;[28](Emphasis
supplied.)

6. That after the


judgment in the abovementioned case became final,
the same was executed as
evidenced by a copy of the
writ of execution hereto
attached as Annex B and
made integral part hereof;
7. That despite the
service of the writ of execution
and vacating the properties x
x x illegally occupied by the
afore-mentioned defendants,
the latter re-entered the
property in 1990 after the

Under paragraph 6 of their complaint, the


Badillos alleged that judgment in Civil Case No. A514 had become final and had been
executed. Further, in paragraph 7, they alleged that
in 1990, the defendants re-entered the property and

despite repeated demands they refused to vacate


the same. Thus, the Badillos were not at all seeking
a revival of the judgment. In reality, they were asking
the MTC to legally oust the occupants from their lots.
The Badillo family would have been correct
in seeking judicial recourse from the MTC had the
case been an action for ejectment, i.e., one of forcible
entry under Rule 70 of the Rules of Court wherein
essential facts constituting forcible entry[29] have been
averred and the suit filed within one year from the
time of unlawful deprivation or withholding of
possession, as the MTC has exclusive original
jurisdiction over such suit.[30] However, as the alleged
dispossession occurred in 1990, the one-year period
to bring a case for forcible entry had expired since
the Badillos filed their suit only in December
1997. We thus construe that the remedy they availed
of is the plenary action of accion publiciana, which
may be instituted within 10 years.[31] It is an ordinary
civil proceeding to determine the better right of
possession of realty independently of title. It also
refers to an ejectment suit filed after the expiration of
one year from the accrual of the cause of action or
from the unlawful withholding of possession of the
realty.[32]
Whether the case filed by the Badillo family
is a real or a personal action is
irrelevant. Determining whether an action is real or
personal is for the purpose only of determining
venue. In the case at bar, the question raised
concerns jurisdiction, not venue.
Although the Badillo family correctly filed a
case for accion publiciana, they pleaded their case
before the wrong court. In civil cases involving realty
or interest therein not within Metro Manila, the MTC

has exclusive original jurisdiction only if the assessed


value of the subject property or interest therein does
not exceed P20,000.00.[33] As the assessed value of
the property subject matter of this case
is P26,940.00, and since more than one year had
expired after the dispossession, jurisdiction properly
belongs to the RTC.[34] Hence, the MTC has no
judicial authority at all to try the case in the first
place. A decision of the court without jurisdiction is
null and void; hence, it could never logically become
final and executory. Such a judgment may be
attacked directly or collaterally.[35]
Based on the foregoing discussion, it is not
anymore necessary to discuss the issue raised
concerning the failure to include a certification of nonforum shopping.
Although we are compelled to dismiss
respondents action before the MTC, they are
nonetheless not precluded from filing the necessary
judicial remedy with the proper court.
WHEREFORE,
the
petition
is GRANTED. The Orders dated July 21 and
September 20, 2004 of the Regional Trial Court of
Allen, Northern Samar, Branch 23 in Special Civil
Action No. A-927 are hereby SET ASIDE. The
Municipal Trial Court of San Isidro, Northern
Samar is DIRECTED to dismiss Civil Case No. 104
for lack of jurisdiction.
SO ORDERED
Samelo vs. Manotok
DECISION

Manotok, sent a letter to the petitioner

BRION, J.:

demanding that she vacate the subject

Before us is the petition for review


on certiorari[1] filed

by

Viegely

Samelo

(petitioner), represented by her attorney-in-fact

premises and pay compensation for its use and


occupancy.[5] The petitioner, however, refused
to heed these demands.

Cristina Samelo, to challenge the decision


dated June 21, 2005[2] and the resolution dated
November 10, 2005[3] of the Court of Appeals
(CA) in CA-G.R. SP No. 85664.
Background Facts
Manotok Services, Inc. (respondent)
alleged that it is the administrator of a parcel of
land known as Lot 9-A, Block 2913, situated at
2882 Dagupan Extension, Tondo, Manila. On
January 31, 1997, the respondent entered into
a contract with the petitioner for the lease of a
portion of Lot 9-A, Block 2913, described as Lot
4, Block 15 (subject premises). The lease
contract was for a period of one (1) year, with a
monthly rental of P3,960.00. After the expiration
of the lease contract on December 31, 1997,
the petitioner continued occupying the subject
premises without paying the rent.[4] On August
5, 1998, the respondent, thru its President Rosa

On

November

18,

1998,

the

respondent filed a complaint for unlawful


detainer against the petitioner before the
Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC), Branch 3,
Manila.[6] The case was docketed as Civil Case
No. 161588-CV. The respondent prayed,
among others, that the petitioner and those
claiming rights under her be ordered to vacate
the subject premises, and to pay compensation
for its use and occupancy.
In her answer, the petitioner alleged that the
respondent had no right to collect rentals
because the subject premises are located
inside the property of the Philippine National
Railways (PNR). She also added that the
respondent had no certificate of title over the
subject premises. The petitioner further claimed
that her signature in the contract of lease was
obtained

through

the

respondents

misrepresentation. She likewise maintained that


she is now the owner of the subject premises
as she had been in possession since 1944.[7]
The MeTC Ruling
The MeTC, in its judgment[8] of March

WHEREFORE,
premises
considered,
judgment is hereby rendered
for the plaintiff and against
defendant, ordering the latter
and all persons claiming
rights under her:
1.

28, 2002, decided in favor of the respondent,


and ordered the petitioner to vacate the subject
premises

and to deliver their peaceful

possession to the respondent. The MeTC held


that the only issue to be resolved in an unlawful
detainer case is physical possession or
possession de facto, and that the respondent
had established its right of possession over the
subject premises. It added that the petitioners
right under the lease contract already ceased
upon the expiration of the said contract. It
further ruled that the petitioner is already
estopped from questioning the right of the
respondent over the subject premises when she
entered into a contract of lease with the
respondent. The dispositive portion of the
MeTC judgment reads:

2.

To vacate the
premises
located at 2882
Dagupan
Extension,
Tondo, Manila,
and deliver the
peaceful
possession
thereof to the
plaintiff[;]
To pay plaintiff
the
sum
of P40,075.20
as
compensation
for the use and
occupancy of
the
premises
from January 1,
1998 to August
30,
1998,
plus P4,554.00
a month starting
September 1,
1998,
until
defendant and
all
person[s]

claiming rights
under her to
finally vacate
the premises[;]
3.

To pay plaintiff
the
sum
of P5,000.00 for
and
as
attorneys fees;
and

4.

To pay the
cost of suit.[9]

The RTC Decision


The petitioner filed an appeal[10] with
the Regional Trial Court (RTC), Branch 50,
Manila. The RTC, in its decision[11] of July 1,
2004, set aside the MeTCs decision, and
dismissed the complaint for unlawful detainer.
The RTC held, among others, that the
respondent had no right to collect rentals as it
failed to show that it had authority to administer
the subject premises and to enter into a
contract of lease with the petitioner. It also ruled
that the subject premises, which were formerly
owned by the PNR, are now owned by the

petitioner by virtue of her possession and stay

possession, although the trial courts may

in the premises since 1944.

provisionally resolve the issue of ownership for


the sole purpose of determining the issue of

The CA Decision

possession. It explained that the issue of


ownership is not required to determine the

Aggrieved

by

the

reversal,

the

issue of possession since the petitioner tacitly

respondent filed a petition for review with the

admitted that she is a lessee of the subject

CA, docketed as CA-G.R. SP No. 85664.[12] The

premises.[13]

CA, in its decision of June 21, 2005, reversed


and set aside the RTC decision, and reinstated

The petitioner moved to reconsider this

the MeTC judgment. The CA held that the

decision, but the CA denied her motion in its

petitioner is now estopped from questioning the

resolution dated November 10, 2005.[14]

right of the respondent over the subject


property. It explained that in an action involving

In presenting her case before this

the possession of the subject premises, a

Court, the petitioner argued that the CA erred in

tenant cannot controvert the title of his landlord

ruling that a tenant is not permitted to deny the

or assert any rights adverse to that title, without

title of his landlord. She maintained that the

first delivering to the landlord the premises

respondent is not the owner or administrator of

acquired by virtue of the agreement between

the subject premises, and insisted that she had

themselves. The appellate court added that the

been in possession of the land in question since

petitioner cannot claim that she repudiated the

1944. She further added that she repudiated

lease contract, in the absence of any

the lease contract by filing a case for fraudulent

unequivocal acts of repudiation.

misrepresentation, intimidation, annulment of


lease contract, and quieting of title with

The CA further held that the only issue


in an ejectment suit is physical or material

injunction before another court.[15]

The Courts Ruling


We

find

the

petition unmeritorious.

Respondent has a better right of possession

(although she maintained that her signature

over the subject premises

was

obtained

through

the

respondents

misrepresentations). Under the lease contract,

has previously been given, it


is understood that there is an
implied new lease, not for the
period of the original contract,
but for the time established in
Articles 1682 and 1687. The
other terms of the original
contract shall be revived.

An action for unlawful detainer exists

the petitioner obligated herself to pay a monthly

when a person unlawfully withholds possession

rental to the respondent in the amount

of any land or building against or from a lessor,

of P3,960.00. The lease period was for one

vendor, vendee or other persons, after the

year, commencing on January 1, 1997 and

expiration or termination of the right to hold

expiring on December 31, 1997. It bears

possession, by virtue of any contract, express

emphasis that the respondent did not give the

reconduccion will set in when the following

or implied.[16] The only issue to be resolved in

petitioner a notice to vacate upon the expiration

requisites are found to exist: a) the term of the

an unlawful detainer case is physical or material

of the lease contract in December 1997 (the

original contract of lease has expired; b) the

possession

involved,

notice to vacate was sent only on August 5,

lessor has not given the lessee a notice to

independent of any claim of ownership by any

1998), and the latter continued enjoying the

vacate; and c) the lessee continued enjoying

of the parties involved.[17] Thus, when the

subject premises for more than 15 days, without

the thing leased for fifteen days with the

relationship of lessor and lessee is established

objection from the respondent. By the inaction

acquiescence of the lessor.[20] As earlier

in an unlawful detainer case, any attempt of the

of the respondent as lessor, there can be no

discussed, all these requisites have been

parties to inject the question of ownership into

inference that it intended to discontinue the

fulfilled in the present case.

the case is futile, except insofar as it might

lease contract.[19] An implied new lease was

throw light on the right of possession.[18]

therefore created pursuant to Article 1670 of the

of

the

property

Civil Code, which expressly provides:


In the present case, it is undisputed
that the petitioner and the respondent entered
into a contract of lease. We note in this regard
that in her answer with affirmative defenses and
counterclaim before the MeTC, the petitioner
did not deny that she signed the lease contract

Article 1670. If at the


end of the contract the lessee
should continue enjoying the
thing leased for fifteen days
with the acquiescence of the
lessor, and unless a notice to
the contrary by either party

An

implied

new

lease or tacita

Article 1687 of the Civil Code on


implied new lease provides:
Article 1687. If the
period for the lease has not
been fixed, it is understood to
be from year to year, if the
rent
agreed
upon
is
annual; from month to month,
if it is monthly; from week to

week, if the rent is weekly;


and from day to day, if the
rent is to be paid daily.

Since the rent was paid on a monthly


basis, the period of lease is considered to be
from month to month, in accordance with Article
1687 of the Civil Code. [A] lease from month to
month is considered to be one with a definite
period which expires at the end of each
month upon a demand to vacate by the
lessor.[21] When the respondent sent a notice to
vacate to the petitioner on August 5, 1998,
the tacita reconduccion was aborted, and the
contract is deemed to have expired at the end
of that month. [A] notice to vacate constitutes
an express act on the part of the lessor that it
no longer consents to the continued occupation
by the lessee of its property.[22] After such
notice, the lessees right to continue in
possession

ceases

and

becomes one of detainer.[23]


Estoppel of tenant

her

possession

We find no merit in the petitioners

title not only in [herself], but also in some third

allegation that the respondent had no authority

person while [she remains] in possession of the

to lease the subject premises because the latter

subject premises and until [she surrenders]

failed to prove that it is its owner or

possession to the landlord. This estoppel

administrator.

applies even though the lessor had no title at


the time the relation of [the] lessor and [the]

The Rules of Court protects the

lessee was created, and may be asserted not

respondent, as lessor, from being questioned

only by the original lessor, but also by those

by the petitioner, as lessee, regarding its title or

who succeed to his title.[24] Once a contact of

better right of possession over the subject

lease is shown to exist between the parties, the

premises. Section 2(b), Rule 131 of the Rules

lessee cannot by any proof, however strong,

of Court states that the tenant is not permitted

overturn the conclusive presumption that the

to deny the title of his landlord at the time of the

lessor has a valid title to or a better right of

commencement of the relation of landlord and

possession to the subject premises than the

tenant between them. Article 1436 of the Civil

lessee.

Code likewise states that a lessee or a bailee is


estopped from asserting title to the thing leased
or received, as against the lessor or bailor.
These provisions bar the petitioner
from contesting the respondents title over the
subject premises. The juridical relationship
between x x x [a] lessor and x x x [a lessee]
carries with it a recognition of the lessor's title.
As [lessee, the petitioner is] estopped [from
denying the] landlord's title, or to assert a better

The Court thus explained in Tamio v.


Ticson:[25]
Indeed, the relation
of lessor and lessee does not
depend on the formers title
but on the agreement
between the parties, followed
by the possession of the
premises by the lessee under
such agreement. As long as
the latter remains in

undisturbed possession, it is
immaterial whether the lessor
has a valid title or any title at
all at the time the relationship
was entered into.[citations
omitted]

public,

We are likewise unpersuaded by the


petitioners claim that she has acquired
possessory rights leading to ownership[26] over
subject

premises,

to

the

exclusion

of

Additionally, the petitioner is liable to pay

[others].[27] Significantly, the RTC decision failed

interest by way of damages for her failure to

to state its basis for concluding that the

pay the rentals due for the use of the subject

petitioner stayed in the subject premises since

premises.[29] We reiterate that the respondents

1944.

extrajudicial demand on the petitioner was


made on August 5, 1998. Thus, from this date,

The issue of ownership

the

and

having

been

in

possession thereof since 1944. We emphasize


that aside from her self-serving allegation, the
petitioner did not present any documentary
evidence to substantiate her claim that she
stayed on the subject premises since 1944.
That the petitioner presented certificates of title
of the Manila Railroad Company over certain
properties in Tondo, Manila, which allegedly
cover the subject premises, is of no moment.
One cannot recognize the right of another, and
at the same time claim adverse possession
which can ripen to ownership, thru acquisitive
prescription. For prescription to set in, the
possession must be adverse, continuous,

At any rate, we hold that no need

the rentals due from the petitioner shall earn

exists to resolve the issue of ownership in this

interest at 6% per annum, until the judgment in

case, since it is not required to determine the

this case becomes final and executory. After

issue of possession; the execution of the lease

the finality of judgment, and until full payment of

contract between the petitioner, as lessee, and

the rentals and interests due, the legal rate of

the respondent, as lessor, belies the formers

interest to be imposed shall be 12%.

claim of ownership. We reiterate that the fact of


the lease and the expiration of its term are the

WHEREFORE, in light of all the foregoing,

only elements in an action for unlawful detainer.

we DENY the petition. The decision and the

The defense of ownership does not change the

resolution of the Court of Appeals dated June

summary nature of [this] action. x x x. Although

21, 2005 and November 10, 2005, respectively,

a wrongful possessor may at times be upheld

in CA-G.R. SP No. 85664 are AFFIRMED with

by the courts, this is merely temporary and

the MODIFICATION that the unpaid rentals

solely for the maintenance of public order. The

shall earn a corresponding interest of six

question of ownership is to be settled in the

percent (6%) per annum, to be computed from

proper court and in a proper action.[28]

August 5, 1998 until the finality of this decision.


After this decision becomes final and executory,

Interest on rentals due

the rate of legal interest shall be computed at


twelve percent (12%) per annum from such
finality until its satisfaction.

SO ORDERED.
German Management and Services Inc. Vs.
CA
177 SCRA 495 Civil Law Property
Doctrine of Self-Help
In February 1982, the spouses Manuel and
Cynthia

Jose

contracted

with GermanManagement and Services, Inc. for


the latter to develop their landholdings into a

forcible entry against German Management. In

German Management should

have

filed

its defense, GermanManagement invoked the

either accion

Doctrine of Self-help which provides that:

reivindicatoria to lawfully eject the farmers.

The owner or lawful possessor of a thing has


the right to exclude any person from the
enjoyment and disposal thereof. For this
purpose, he may use such force as may be
reasonably necessary to repel or prevent an
actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion
or usurpation of his property. (Article 429, Civil
Code)

But the farmers are not the real owners and in

publiciana or accion

fact, the spouses Jose have a lawful title over


the land?
Regardless of the actual condition of the title to
the property, the party in peaceable quiet
possession shall not be turned out by a strong
hand, violence or terror. Further, there is now a

residential subdivision. The spouses also

ISSUE: Whether or not the doctrine of self-help

executed a special power of attorney to that

is applicable in this case.

effect.

HELD: No. The Doctrine of Self-help is not

said property. They can only be ejected either

German Management started the project in

applicable

by accion

because

at

presumption of ownership in favor of the


farmers since they are the ones occupying the

the

time

when

publicianaor accion

German Management excluded the farmers,

reivindicatoria through

GermanManagement discovered that the land

theres no longer an actual or threatened

Joses better right may be proven.

was being possessed by Ernest0 Villeza et al

unlawful physical invasion or usurpation. That

Castillo vs. Cruz

February

1983,

however,

who were the farmers tilling the said land at that

actual or threatened unlawful physical invasion

time. German Management spoke with Villeza

by the farmers have already lapsed 12 years

et al but the farmers refused to vacate the land

ago when they began occupying the said land.

as the farmers claimed that they have been

In fact, they were already peaceably farming

occupying the land for twelve years.

the land.

Nevertheless, German Management went on to

What should have been the remedy by

develop the property and demolished the


properties of the farmers without acquiring a
court order. In turn, Villeza et al filed a case of

German Management?

which

the

spouses

Facts:
Respondent Amanda Cruz (Amanda) who,
along with her husband Francisco G. Cruz
(Spouses Cruz), leased a parcel of land
situated at Barrio Guinhawa, Malolos (the
property), refused to vacate the property,
despite demands by the lessor Provincial
Government of Bulacan (the Province) which
intended to utilize it for local projects.

Several cases were filed by both parties to


enforce their rights over the property. The
pertinent case among the filed cases was the
issuance by the MTC an alias Writ of
Demolition in favor of the Province.
Respondents filed a motion for TRO in the
RTC, which was granted. However, the
demolition was already implemented before the
TRO issuance.

Held:

On February 21, 2008, petitioners Police


Superintendent Felixberto Castillo et al., who
were deployed by the City Mayor in compliance
with a memorandum issued by Governor
Joselito R. Mendoza instructing him to protect,
secure and maintain the possession of the
property, entered the property.

Secretary of National Defense v. Manalo


teaches: As the Amparo Rule was intended to
address the intractable problem of extralegal
killings and enforced disappearances. Tapuz
v. Del Rosario also teaches: What it is not is a
writ to protect concerns that are purely property
or commercial. Neither is it a writ that we shall
issue on amorphous and uncertain grounds.

Amanda and her co-respondents refused to


turn over the property, however. Insisting that
the RTC Order of Permanent Injunction
enjoined the Province from repossessing it,
they shoved petitioners, forcing the latter to
arrest them and cause their indictment for direct
assault, trespassing and other forms of light
threats.
Thus, respondents filed a Motion for Writ of
Amparo and Habeas Data.
Issue:
WON Amparo and Habeas Data is proper to
property
rights;
and,
WON Amparo and Habeas Data is proper when
there is a criminal case already filed.

On the 1st issue:


Section 1 of the Rules of Writ of Amparo and
Habeas Data provides that the coverage of the
writs is limited to the protection of rights to life,
liberty and security, and the writs cover not only
actual but also threats of unlawful acts or
omissions.

To thus be covered by the privilege of the writs,


respondents must meet the threshold
requirement that their right to life, liberty and
security is violated or threatened with an
unlawful act or omission. Evidently, the present
controversy arose out of a property dispute
between the Provincial Government and
respondents. Absent any considerable nexus
between the acts complained of and its effect
on respondents right to life, liberty and security,
the Court will not delve on the propriety of
petitioners entry into the property.
It bears emphasis that respondents petition did
not show any actual violation, imminent or
continuing threat to their life, liberty and

security. Bare allegations of petitioners will not


suffice to prove entitlement to the remedy of the
writ of amparo. No undue confinement or
detention was present. In fact, respondents
were even able to post bail for the offenses a
day after their arrest.
On the 2nd issue:
Respondents filing of the petitions for writs of
amparo and habeas data should have been
barred, for criminal proceedings against them
had commenced after they were arrested in
flagrante delicto and proceeded against in
accordance with Section 6, Rule 112 of the
Rules of Court. Validity of the arrest or the
proceedings conducted thereafter is a defense
that may be set up by respondents during trial
and not before a petition for writs of amparo
and habeas data.
Bejar vs Caluag
SANDOVAL-GUTIERREZ, J.:
Before us is the instant Petition for Review on
Certiorari under Rule 45 of the 1997 Rules of
Civil Procedure, as amended, assailing the
Decision1 of the Court of Appeals dated May
23, 2005 in CA-G.R. SP No. 85430.
The factual backdrop of the case is as follows:
On August 2, 2002, the late Almario Bejar,
substituted by his heirs, herein petitioners, filed
with the Metropolitan Trial Court (MeTC),

Branch 12, Manila, a complaint for illegal


detainer and damages against Maricel Caluag,
herein respondent, docketed as Civil Case No.
173262-CV. The allegations therein are partly
reproduced hereunder:
xxx
4. Plaintiff is the owner of a residential
house made of light materials
consisting of wood and galvanized iron
roof built on government-owned land
located at 777 Coral Street, Tondo,
Manila.
5. On December 21, 1981, plaintiff
sold one-half (1/2) portion of the said
residential house with an area of
twenty-two feet in length and fifteen
feet in width to Fernando Mijares in the
amount
of
Eleven
Thousand
(P11,000.00) Pesos x x x
6. Subsequently, plaintiff became the
owner in fee simple of the government
land where his residential house was
built including the one-half portion he
sold to Fernando Mijares, located at
777 Coral Street, Tondo, Manila,
evidenced by Transfer Certificate of
Title No. 156220 registered and
entered in the Register of Deeds of
Manila on August 30, 1983 x x x
7. On September 2, 1991, Fernando
Mijares, sold his residential house to

Maricel Caluag with residence address


at 1391 R.A. Reyes St., Tondo, Manila
to be used as a warehouse for her
business x x x

Bahay," Almario Bejar sold to Fernando Mijares


both his house and the entire lot on which it
was constructed, citing paragraph 4 of
the "Kasulatan" which reads:

8. Plaintiff badly needs the portion of


his land occupied by the defendant to
build a residential house for use of his
family;

Na alang alang sa halagang LABING ISANG


LIBO PISO (P11,000.00) kuartang Filipino na
kasasalukuyang gastahin na aking tinanggap
ng buong kasiyahang loob kay FERNANDO
MIJARES x x x ay aking ipinagbili, ibinigay,
isinulit at inilipat ng buo kong pagaari
na kalahating
harapan
ng
bahay
ko naipaliwanag sa itaas at ang pagbibili kong
ito ay kasama ang lahat kong karapatan sa lupa
kung may karapatan ako na kinatitirikan ng
bahay.2

9. On April 9, 2002, plaintiff through


counsel sent a formal demand letter to
defendant for the latter to vacate the
portion of the property situated at 777
Coral Street, Tondo, Manila within ten
(10) days from receipt of the demand
letter x x x
10. Despite formal demand from the
plaintiff on April 19, 2002, defendant
failed and refused and still fails and
refuses to vacate said portion of the
property owned by the plaintiff located
at 777 Coral Street, Tondo, Manila to
the damage and prejudice of plaintiff.
xxx
On October 15, 2002, respondent filed a motion
to dismiss on the ground that the MeTC has no
jurisdiction over the case as it involves the
issue of ownership.
On February 10, 2003, respondent filed a
supplement to her motion to dismiss alleging
that pursuant to the"Kasulatan ng Bilihan ng

On June 16, 2003, the MeTC issued an Order


dismissing Civil Case No. 173262-CV for want
of jurisdiction, holding that the actual issue
between the parties is the enforceability of the
subsequent sale by Fernando Mijares to
respondent of the subject property; and that,
therefore, jurisdiction properly lies with the
Regional Trial Court (RTC).
On appeal, the RTC, Branch 47, Manila, on
January 5, 2004, rendered its Decision
reversing the Order of dismissal of the MeTC.
The RTC held that the issue in Civil Case No.
173262-CV is who has better possession of the
disputed property. The RTC then directed the
MeTC to hear the case on the merits.
Respondent seasonably filed a motion for
reconsideration but it was denied.

Respondent then filed with the Court of Appeals


a petition for review, docketed as CA-G.R. SP
No. 85430.
In its Decision dated May 23, 2005, the Court of
Appeals reversed the RTC judgment, thus:
WHEREFORE, the instant petition is
GRANTED. The assailed decision of the
Regional Trial Court, National Capital Judicial
Region, Branch 47, Manila, in Civil Case No.
03-107631 is REVERSED and SET ASIDE.
The order, dated 16 June 2003, of the
Metropolitan Trial Court, National Capital
Judicial Region, Branch 12. Manila in Civil Case
No. 173262-CV, dismissing Almario Bejars
complaint for lack of jurisdiction is hereby
REINSTATED.
Let this case be remanded to the Regional Trial
Court, National Capital Judicial Region, Branch
47, Manila for further proceedings pursuant to
Section 8, Rule 40 of the Revised Rules of
Court.
SO ORDERED.
The appellate court held that the allegations of
the complaint do not make out a case for illegal
detainer or forcible entry.
Petitioners filed a motion for reconsideration of
the above Decision but in its Resolution dated
January 27, 2006, the Court of Appeals denied
the same.

Hence, the instant petition.


For our resolution is the issue of whether the
MeTC has jurisdiction over Civil Case No.
173262-CV for illegal detainer.
There are four (4) remedies available to one
who has been deprived of possession of real
property. These are: (1) an action for unlawful
detainer; (2) a suit for forcible entry; (3) accion
publiciana; and (4) accion reinvidicatoria.
In unlawful detainer and forcible entry cases,
the only issue to be determined is who between
the contending parties has better possession of
the contested property.3 Pursuant to Section 33
(2) of Batas Pambansa Blg. 129, as amended
by Section 3 of Republic Act No. 7691, it is the
Municipal Trial Courts, Metropolitan Trial Courts
in Cities, and Municipal Circuit Trial Courts that
exercise exclusive original jurisdiction over
these cases. The proceedings are governed by
the Rule on Summary Procedure, as amended.
By contrast, an accion publiciana, also known
as accion plenaria de posesion,4 is a plenary
action for recovery of possession in an ordinary
civil proceeding in order to determine the better
and legal right to possess, independently of
title.5
There are two distinctions between the
summary ejectment suits (unlawful detainer and
forcible entry) and accion publiciana. The first
lies in the period within which each one can be
instituted. Actions for unlawful detainer and

forcible entry must be filed within one year


from the date possession is lost, while
an accion publiciana may be filed only after the
expiration of that period but within the period
prescribed in the statute of limitations. The
second distinction involves jurisdiction.
An accion publiciana may only be filed with the
RTC, while a complaint for unlawful detainer or
forcible entry may only be filed with the first
level courts earlier mentioned.1awphi1.net
An accion reinvidicatoria, unlike the three
remedies previously discussed, involves not
only possession, but ownership of the property.
The plaintiff in this action sets up title in him and
prays that he be declared the owner and be
given possession thereof.6 Otherwise put, the
plaintiff alleges ownership of real property and
prays for recovery of such ownership. Under
Article 434 of the Civil Code, two things must be
alleged and proven in anaccion reinvidicatoria:
(1) the identity of the property and (2) plaintiffs
title to it. Sole and exclusive jurisdiction over
cases for accion reinvidicatoria is vested in the
RTC.
We are guided by the elementary principle that
what determines the nature of an action as well
as which court has jurisdiction over it are the
allegations of the complaint and the character
of the relief sought.7
To make out a suit for illegal detainer or forcible
entry, the complaint must contain two
mandatory allegations: (1) prior physical
possession of the property by the plaintiff; and

(2) deprivation of said possession by another by


means of force, intimidation, threat, strategy or
stealth.8 This latter requirement implies that the
possession of the disputed property by the
intruder has been unlawful from the very start.
Then, the action must be brought within one
year from the date of actual entry to the
property or, in cases where stealth was
employed, from the date the plaintiff learned
about it.9
An examination of the allegations in the
complaint in Civil Case No. 173262-CV does
not show that Almario Bejar was deprived of his
possession of the property by force,
intimidation, threat, strategy or stealth.
Here, the case is for unlawful detainer. The
complaint clearly alleges that Almario Bejar sold
one-half portion of his house to Fernando
Mijares; that the latter, in turn, sold the same
portion of the house to respondent; that
eventually, Almario Bejar became the owner in
fee simple of the entire lot where his house was
built; that he needs the portion of the lot
occupied by respondent for the construction of
a house for the use of his family; and that
despite demand, respondent failed and still fails
to vacate the premises. From the records, it
appears that Almario Bejar filed his complaint
within one year from the date of his last
demand upon respondent to vacate the
contested portion of the land.
A suit for unlawful detainer will prosper if the
complaint sufficiently alleges that there is a

withholding of possession or refusal to vacate


the property by a defendant.10 The cause of
action arises from the expiration or termination
of the defendants right to continue possession
which is upon plaintiffs demand to vacate the
premises. The complaint for unlawful detainer
must then be instituted within one year from the
date of the last demand.11 All these incidents
are present in the instant case.
Considering that the allegations in Almario
Bejars complaint in Civil Case No. 173262-CV
show that it is one for illegal detainer, hence, it
is the MeTC, Branch 12, Manila which has
jurisdiction over Civil Case No. 173262-CV.
WHEREFORE,
we GRANT the
petition
and REVERSE the assailed Decision of the
Court of Appeals. The RTC Decision
is AFFIRMED. Let the records of this case be
remanded to the MeTC, Branch 12, Manila, for
further proceedings with dispatch.
SO ORDERED.
Ong vs. Parel
The instant petition for review on certiorari
seeks the annulment of the decision of the
respondent Court of Appeals[1] dated December
14, 1999 affirming the decision of the Regional
Trial Court which reversed and set aside the
judgment of the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 15, for forcible entry, as well as
the resolution dated May 4, 2000 denying
petitioners motion for reconsideration.[2]

Spouses Pedro and Veronica Ong are the


registered owners of Lot No.18, Block 2 of the
subdivision plan II of Rizal Park subdivision,
situated in Sta Cruz, Manila covered by TCT
No. 218597, having purchased the property
from the spouses Emilio Magbag and Norma B.
Pascual in 1994. Adjacent to Lot No. 18 is Lot
No.17 consisting of about 109 sq. meters
covered by TCT No. 125063 registered under
the name of Visitacion Beltran, grandmother of
respondent Socorro Parel.
On May 25, 1995, the Ong spouses filed
an action for forcible entry against defendant
Parel before the Metropolitan Trial Court of
Manila, Branch 15, docketed as Civil Case No.
148332, alleging among other things that
defendant Parel through strategy and stealth
constructed an overhang and hollow block wall
along the common boundary of the parties
adjoining lot, i.e., beyond Lot No. 17 owned by
Parel and inside Lot No.18 owned by plaintiffs
spouses Ong, thereby illegally depriving
plaintiffs of possession of the said portion of
their lot; that plaintiffs discovered respondents
illegal possession of their lot on August 23,
1994 when they had the boundaries of their lot
resurveyed; that plaintiffs made various
demands from the defendants to remove the
constructions they introduced in the said lot of
the plaintiffs and vacate the same, the last of
which demands having been made on
December 19, 1994.
Defendant Parel denied the material
allegations of the complaint and alleged that the
overhang and hollow block wall had already

been in existence since 1956 and that these


structures are within the boundary of lot 17
owned by him.
The parties moved for an ocular
inspection of the subject lot which was granted
by the trial court. The trial court designated the
Branch Clerk of Court as Commissioner while
defendant Parel employed the services of
Geodetic Engr. Mariano V. Flotildes who made
the relocation survey on November 28, 1995 in
the presence of both parties. Thereafter, the
Commissioner reported that defendants wall
protrudes 1 meters into plaintiffs property and a
window sill overhangs by about meter deep into
plaintiffs premises and the eaves of the main
residential building extends into the plaintiffs
premises. The Geodetic Engineers Report,
confirmed that the house of the defendant
encroached plaintiffs property by an area of 2.7
sq. m., and the adobe and hollow block wall by
an area of 1.59 sq. m., respectively, resulting to
a total encroachment of 4.29 sq. m., more or
less into the plaintiffs property.
On April 12, 1996, the Metropolitan Trial
Court rendered judgment in favor of the
plaintiffs spouses Ong; the dispositive portion
reads:[3]
WHEREFORE, premises considered, judgment
is hereby rendered in favor of plaintiffs and
against the defendants ordering: (a) the
defendants and all persons claiming rights
under her to remove the overhang
constructions measuring 2.70 sq. m. and the
adobe block wall measuring 1.59 sq.m.

respectively on lot 18 of the plaintiffs and to


peacefully surrender its possession to the
plaintiffs; (b) ordering the defendants to pay the
plaintiffs the sum of Ten Thousand Pesos
(P10,000.00) as and by way of attorneys fees;
plus the costs of suit.

WHEREFORE, premises considered, the


decision appealed from is hereby REVERSED
and SET ASIDE. This case is hereby
DISMISSED, without prejudice to the filing of
the appropriate actions, without costs.

time when she still owned both lots or when she


had all the right and the power to introduce the
improvements; thus the introduction of the said
construction could not be equated with strategy
and stealth giving rise to forcible entry. It added
that what is involved in a forcible entry case is
merely the issue of material possession or
possession de facto which the petitioner
miserably proved in their favor. It further pointed
out that it was admitted by the petitioners in
their petition that this case involves a boundary
dispute and not lot 18 in its entirety, and the
encroachment was discovered only upon a
relocation survey of the property; such
controversy could not be threshed out in an
ejectment suit in view of the summary nature of
the action, and the MTC, accordingly, is without
jurisdiction to entertain the same. Petitioners
moved for a reconsideration which was also
denied in a resolution dated May 4,
2000. Hence, this petition.

SO ORDERED.

Petitioners assign the following issues for


consideration:[7]

SO ORDERED.
Respondent Parel filed an appeal with the
Regional Trial Court, docketed as Civil Case
No. 96-78666. On October 3, 1996, the regional
trial court[4] dismissed the case for failure of the
Ong spouses to prove prior physical possession
of the subject lot, the dispositive portion reads: [5]

Spouses Ong moved for a reconsideration


which was also denied in a resolution dated
August 1, 1997.[6]
Aggrieved by the above decision,
petitioners spouses Ong elevated the matter to
the Court of Appeals by way of a petition for
review. The respondent Court of Appeals in a
decision dated December 14, 1999 denied the
petition. The appellate court adopted the lower
courts findings that the alleged encroachments
were made by the late Visitacion Beltran at a

1. WHETHER OR NOT GAINING ENTRY


WITHOUT THE KNOWLEDGE OR CONSENT
OF THE OWNER OR REMAINING RESIDENT
OF ANOTHER WITHOUT PERMISSION IS
DISPOSSESSION BY STEALTH;
2. WHETHER OR NOT ENTRY SECURED BY
STRATEGY OR STEALTH BECOMES
UNLAWFUL AND DE FACTO POSSESSION
COMMENCES ONLY UPON DEMAND;

3. WHETHER OR NOT THERE IS A


DISTINCTION BETWEEN FORCIBLE ENTRY
BY MEANS OF STEALTH AND FORCIBLE
ENTRY BY MEANS OF FORCE,
INTIMIDATION OR THREAT;
4. WHETHER OR NOT PETITIONER CAN
INVOKE SUPREME COURT RULINGS IN
UNLAWFUL DETAINER CASES;
5. WHETHER OR NOT THE PRIVATE
RESPONDENT IS THE AUTHORIZED PARTY
IN THE CASE OF CO-OWNERSHIP AS
OBTAINED IN THIS CASE;
6. WHETHER OR NOT THE CHARACTER OF
THE POSSESSION ACQUIRED IN BAD FAITH
WAS INHERITED BY THE PRIVATE
RESPONDENT AND DID NOT CHANGE;
7. WHETHER OR NOT THE DECISION OF
THE RESPONDENT COURT OF APPEALS IS
BASED ON SPECULATION SURMISE OR
CONJECTURE OR MISAPPREHENSION OF
FACTS.
Petitioners essentially allege that the act
of entering and trespassing upon a parcel of
land, or of constructing improvements upon a
parcel of land without the knowledge or
permission of the person who owns or
administers it is an act of dispossession and
usurpation of real property by means of strategy
or stealth; that private respondent is a usurper
or encroacher who constructed a portion of her
house and adobe and hollow block wall on the

land of the petitioners with no bona fide claim


and without the consent of the owner.
The petition has no merit.
Section 1, Rule 70 of the Rules of Court
requires that in actions for forcible entry the
plaintiff is allegedly deprived of the possession
of any land or building by force, intimidation,
threat, strategy, or stealth and that the action is
filed any time within one year from the time of
such unlawful deprivation of possession. This
requirement implies that in such cases, the
possession of the land by the defendant is
unlawful from the beginning as he acquires
possession thereof by unlawful means. The
plaintiff must allege and prove that he was in
prior physical possession of the property in
litigation until he was deprived thereof by the
defendant. The one year period within which to
bring an action for forcible entry is generally
counted from the date of actual entry on the
land,[8] except that when entry was made
through stealth, the one year period is counted
from the time the plaintiff learned thereof. [9] If
the alleged dispossession did not occur by any
of the means stated in section 1, Rule 70, the
proper recourse is to file a plenary action to
recover possession with the regional trial
court.[10]
In their complaint, petitioners Ong
spouses aver that through stealth and strategy
respondent constructed the controversial
overhang and hollow block wall along the
common boundary of the parties adjoining lots
which encroached on petitioners Lot No.
18. Stealth is defined as any secret, sly, or

clandestine act to avoid discovery and to gain


entrance into or remain within residence of
another
without
permission.[11] However,
petitioners failed to establish that respondents
encroached upon their property through stealth
as it was not shown when and how the alleged
entry was made on the portion of their lot.
On the other hand, respondents claim that
the said structures were already existing on the
lot at the time petitioners brought the same from
the Magbag spouses in 1994, was sustained by
the lower court since petitioners admitted in
their petition that they discovered such
encroachment only after a relocation survey on
their lot on August 23, 1994. We find no reason
to disturb the respondent courts factual
conclusion that the alleged encroachments
were made by the late Visitacion Beltran at a
time when she still owned both lots nos. 17 and
18 or when she had all the right and power to
do so. Private respondent in her affidavit
submitted before the court had affirmed that her
grandmother, Visitacion Beltran, was the
registered owner of the parcel of land covered
by TCT No. 125163 (Lot No. 17) with
improvements which include the window sill
overhang and the old adobe wall which were
constructed as early as 1956 and these
improvements are adjacent to the private alley
from Elias Street which has to be opened and
maintained as long as there exists building
thereon; that the maintenance of such alley was
made as an encumbrance in petitioners title
(TCT No. 218597) when they bought the
adjacent Lot no. 18. Petitioners failed to present
evidence to the contrary.

It becomes clear that this is not a proper


case for forcible entry wherein one party
unlawfully deprives another of possession of
the property subject of the litigation; it is a
boundary dispute wherein the adobe wall,
overhang and window grill on the respondents
side of the property encroach a total of 4.29
meters, more or less, upon the petitioners side
of the property. We affirm with approval of the
observations of the Regional Trial Court, in this
wise:
Let it be emphasized that the matter subject of
the present action is that portion only of Lot No.
18 allegedly encroached by the defendantappellant and not Lot 18 in its entirety.
While there was a finding of encroachment on
Lot No. 18 as per the Commissioners Report
and Engineers Report dated December 27,
1995 and December 29, 1995, respectively,
plaintiff-appellees failed to recount the
circumstances as to how and when defendantappellant allegedly forcibly entered Lot No.
18. Neither was there any evidence ever
proffered by them to prove that defendantappellant made or at least ordered the
introduction of the said improvements or
construction. According to them, the Magbag
spouses gave them the right to administer,
occupy and to have physical possession in the
concept of an owner, Lot No. 18 on June 17,
1994 until the title to the said lot was transferred
to their names on October 28, 1994 and they
have just discovered the encroachment on Lot
No. 18 only on August 23, 1994 when they had

the boundaries of Lots Nos. 17 and 18


resurveyed. Defendant-appellant, on the other
hand, averred that the questioned
improvements and constructions encroaching
on Lot No. 18 were already there since 1956,
and this averment was not controverted by the
plaintiff-appellees at all. Thus, the truth is that,
when defendant-appellant acquired Lot No. 18,
the adobe wall, overhang and window grill were
already there encroaching on Lot No. 18 as it
was the late Salvacion (sic)[12] Beltran who built
the same. In fact, even up to the present,
defendant-appellant is still in possession of the
herein questioned premises which means that
plaintiff-appellees were never in possession of
the same. The latter, therefore, cannot be said
to be in prior physical possession. The demand
made on the defendant-appellant is here of no
moment as it is a well-entrenched jurisprudence
that demand to vacate is not necessary in
forcible entry cases (Menez vs. Militante, 41
Phil. 44).
Consequently, for failure of the plaintiffappellees to circumstantiate prior physical
possession on the herein subject premises and
the fact of entry on the same by the defendantappellant by force, intimidation, violence or
stealth, the present action for forcible entry
must exigently fail. Moreover, this Court notes
that at the time the improvements were made,
the late Salvacion (sic) Beltran was still the
registered owner of both Lots Nos. 17 and
18. Thus while it may be true that defendantappellant is now the administrator of Lot No. 17,
defendant-appellant cannot be made to answer

for the encroachments on Lot No. 18 for the


same were done by the late Salvacion (sic)
Beltran who had all the right and power to
introduce the improvements as she was then
the registered owner of both Lots Nos. 17 and
18 at the time the same were made. While
plaintiff-appellees can recover possession of
the herein questioned premises, they cannot do
so in the guise of an action for forcible
entry. For where the complaint fails to
specifically aver facts constitutive of forcible
entry or unlawful detainer, as where it does not
state how entry was effected or how and when
dispossession started, the action should either
be ACCION PUBLICIANA or ACCION
REINVINDICATORIA for which the lower court
has no jurisdiction (See Sarona, et al. vs.
Villegas, et al., March 27, 1968, Banayos vs.
Susana Realty, Inc. L-30336, June 30, 1976).
In view of the failure of the petitioners to
allege, much less prove, with specificity that the
respondents unlawfully entered their portion of
the lot either by force, intimidation, threat,
strategy, or stealth this action for forcible entry
must necessarily fall. We declared in the case
of Sarmiento vs. Court of Appeals:[13]
The jurisdictional facts must appear on the face
of the complaint. When the complaint fails to
aver facts constitutive of forcible entry or
unlawful detainer, as where it does not state
how entry was effected or how and when
dispossession started, as in the case at bar, the
remedy should either be an accion publiciana or

an accion reivindicatoria in the proper regional


trial court.
If private respondent is indeed the owner of the
premises subject of this suit and she was
unlawfully deprived of the real right of
possession or the ownership thereof, she
should present her claim before the regional
trial court in an accion publiciana or an accion
reivindicatoria, and not before the municipal trial
court in a summary proceeding of unlawful
detainer or forcible entry. For even if one is the
owner of the property, the possession thereof
cannot be wrested from another who had been
in the physical or material possession of the
same for more than one year by resorting to a
summary action for ejectment.This is especially
true where his possession thereof was not
obtained through the means or held under the
circumstances contemplated by the rules on
summary ejectment.
We have held that in giving recognition to the
action for forcible entry and unlawful detainer,
the purpose of the law is to protect the person
who in fact has actual possession, and in case
of a controverted proprietary right, the law
requires the parties to preserve the status quo
until one or the other sees fit to invoke the
decision of a court of competent jurisdiction
upon the question of ownership."
Petitioners contention that although they
denominated their complaint as one for forcible
entry based on the ground of stealth, the
allegations in the body of the complaint

sufficiently established a cause of action for


unlawful detainer, does not persuade us. In
unlawful detainer, one unlawfully withholds
possession thereof after the expiration or
termination of his right to hold possession under
any contract, express or implied. In the instant
case, the complaint does not allege that the
possession of respondent ever changed from
illegal to legal anytime from their alleged illegal
entry before plaintiffs made the demand to
vacate. There was no averment in the
complaint which recites as a fact any overt act
on the part of the petitioners which showed that
they permitted or tolerated respondent to
occupy a portion of their property.
After a finding that the petitioners failed to
make a case for ejectment, we find it
unnecessary to dwell on the other assignments
of error.
WHEREFORE, the petition is DENIED
and the assailed decision of respondent Court
of Appeals is hereby AFFIRMED.
SO ORDERED.
Tolentino vs. Paraiso
This is an appeal by bill of exceptions filed by
counsel for defendant from a judgment of the
27th of October, 1914, by which the sale of the
land in litigation made by Miguela Tolentino to
Tomas Paraiso was declared to be null and
void; that land to be the property of the plaintiff,
and the defendant Paraiso was ordered to
recognize the plaintiff as the owner of the said
land and to deliver and return it to him

immediately, to indemnify him for the fruits


thereof which the plaintiff had failed to receive
at the rate of P60 annually from the 22d of
October, 1911, until complete payment should
be made, with the costs against the defendant.
On the 28th of May, 1913, counsel for Ildefonso
Tolentino filed a complaint in the Court of First
Instance of Nueva Ecija, alleging that the
plaintiff was the owner in fee simple by reason
of having inherited from his late father and
being in possession of a parcel of land in
the sitio of Macabaclay, of the town of
Bongabong, Nueva Ecija, the metes and
bounds of which were set forth in the complaint;
that in 1910 the defendant Paraiso, without the
consent of the plaintiff, illegally appropriated
said land and refused to return it,
notwithstanding the various demands made
upon him thereof; that during the three years
that the defendant has been upon the land it
has produced 80 cavanes of palay per annum,
or a total of 240 cavanes, the true current price
of which in Bongabong was P3 each cavan;
that the said parties litigated the question of the
ownership of said land in the court of the justice
of the peace of Bongabong, and that a decision
favorable to the plaintiff was rendered, which
was set aside on appeal to the Court of First
Instance for the reason that the justice of the
peace had no jurisdiction to hear and decide
questions concerning the ownership of real
property; wherefore, plaintiff asked that
judgment be rendered in his favor, granting him
the ownership and possession of the land in
question, and ordering the defendant to deliver

and restore the said land to the plaintiff, and to


pay to the latter the value of the 240 cavanes of
palay which he appropriated at the rate of P3 a
cavan, in addition to the costs of the
proceedings.
The demurrer to the foregoing complaint having
been overruled, on the 22d of September,
1913, defendant answered denying generally
and specifically all the allegations contained in
the complaint, and in special defense alleged;
that the land in question is part of a larger tract
owned by the defendant which adjoins the
same and that he acquired it by purchase, for
which reason he prayed that he be absolved of
the complaint, with the costs against the
plaintiff.
The case came to trial, during the course of
which Miguela Tolentino as cited to warrant the
title and included as a party defendant as being
the person who sold the land in question to the
defendant and, after both parties had present
their evidence, the court entered the decision
above mentioned. The defendant excepted to
the said decision and asked for a new trial; his
motion being overruled, he excepted to the
ruling, and, after his bill of exceptions was filed,
it was approved and sent up to the clerk of this
court.
The sole question to be decided in this case is:
Who is the true owner of the parcel of land of a
capacity of one and one-half cavanes sought to
be recovered in the complaint? For, while the
plaintiff alleges that he is the owner of said

parcel of land by inheritance from his late


father, Simeon Tolentino, by virtue of an
extrajudicial partition effected on the 15th of
July, 1909, between himself and his brothers
(Exhibit A), the defendant claims that he
acquired the said real property on the 21st of
April, 1911, by purchase from its former owner,
Miguela Tolentino, plaintiff's aunt, as appears in
the document of page 2 of the record. In the
record it appears to be duly proven that Canuto
Tolentino, a resident of the municipality of
Santor, now comprised within that of
Bongabong, Nueva Ecija, possessed certain
real property, among which was a parcel of land
described in paragraph 9, fifteenth clause of his
will, dated May 30, 1894, and executed before
the notary and witnesses and duly protocolized
according to the laws governing at that time
(page 16, Exhibit B). In this will the land is
described as follows:

rice land in the sitio of Macabaclay of a capacity


of six cavanes of seed," paragraphs 6, clause
11, of the will. On the 21st of April, 1911,
Miguela Tolentino transferred in absolute sale
to Tomas Paraiso and his wife Isidra Gonzalez
said parcel of land which she had inherited from
her father Canuto Tolentino for the sum of
P200. This land is situated in the sitio of
Macabaclay or Canawan, in the barrio of
Santor, municipality of Bongabong, Nueva
Ecija; bounded on the north by lands of the
State or the sitio called Catandungan; on the
south by lands of Justino Tolentino; on the east
by Calabiang creek and lands of Maximina
Tolentino; and on the west by the Malpa creek.
It measured about 12 hectares, more or less
(Exhibit 1). The defendant claims to be the
owner of the land in question by virtue of the
deed of sale executed in his favor by Miguela
Tolentino.

Item. Another parcel of rice land


situated in the sitio of Macabaclay, of
the barrio of Antipolo, of a capacity of
six cavanes of seed, which was
acquired by way of leveling and
clearing, and valued at P180.

Miguela Tolentino, however, claims (pp. 31-39)


that she only sold to the defendant Paraiso a
parcel of land which had a capacity of 6
cavanes; that it was not true that she had sold
12 hectares of land, that being the reason why
up to the present time the land had not been
transferred to the name of Tomas Paraiso in the
archives of the municipal treasury for the
purposes of tax assessment. She added further
that, as she was unable to read or understand
Spanish, she did not know the true contents of
the document (Exhibit 1), which she had signed
outside of the office of the notary, and that the
said document had been drawn up by the same
defendant Paraiso. The vendor Miguela

According to the second and third clauses of his


will, the testator had six children by his first
wife, of whom at the time of the making of the ill
the only survivors ere Simeon, Remigio, and
Francisco, and by his second marriage a
daughter named Miguela. This latter received
from her father Canuto as her legitimate
portion, among other properties, a "parcel of

Tolentino does not deny that she sold the said


land of 6 cavanes; she only denies that the land
so sold measured 12 hectares, because in the
said land there is not included that of the
plaintiff Ildefonso Tolentino which adjoins the
land sold on the north. Said vendor is
corroborated in her testimony by the witnesses
and adjoining land owners Jose Ybai and
Eusebio Bartolome, and these latter under oath
declared that in the act of the transfer of the
land by the vendor Miguela to the purchaser
Tomas Paraiso, said witnesses measured off
the boundaries of the land and that within the
boundaries so fixed was not included the
plaintiff's land of one and a one-half cavanes
which is now detained and tilled by the
defendant.
The plaintiff Ildefonso Tolentino testified that he
had inherited the land in question from his
father Simeon who, since the time of the former
Spanish sovereignty up to his death in 1905,
had possessed and tilled it; that it was his father
who broke the land and put it under cultivation;
that later the witness availed himself of the
services of the defendant Tomas Paraiso to till
the land since the year 1910, adding that the
said land annually produced 80 cavanes of
palay, worth from P2 to P3 per cavan.
In order to prove that the land in question came
from his father Simeon the plaintiff presented in
evidence a document marked Exhibit A, which
is an extrajudicial partition agreement executed
before a notary on the 15th day of July, 1909, in
Bongabong, between the brothers and sister

named Juana, Justino and Ildefonso, all


surnamed Tolentino, of the property left by their
father Simeon; that in the said partition the
plaintiff Ildefonso's share was three parcels of
real estate, one of which is parcel of land
"situated in the sitio of Macabaclay, jurisdiction
of Santor, bounded on the north by lands of the
State; on the south by land of Miguela
Tolentino; on the east by the Calabiang creek;
on the west by another creek called Bolaon,"
but its dimensions are not given.
So that the land which fell to the plaintiff in the
extrajudicial partition is not the same as the
land belonging to Miguela Tolentino which she
sold to the defendant, although both lands
adjoin each other on the south of that of
Ildefonso and the north of that of Miguela, for
which reason it is not to be wondered at that as
it appeared in the deed of sale that the land
acquired measured 12 hectares instead of six
cavanes, its area might be extended on any
side, and due to this circumstance the plaintiff's
land, which was lying fallow for lack of work
animals, was included in spite of the fact that
the vendor set forth in the act that she sold the
land of six cavanes, which as described in the
will, a document which showed the purchaser,
who read it and acquainted himself with the
fact, that the vendor as only the owner of 6
cavanes which she had inherited from her
father, and the said purchaser did not allow the
vendor to show her parents the need of sale
which he had prepared.

It is to be noted that a cavan of seed, used as a


measure of agricultural land, is 3,600
square brazas, equivalent to 10,602 square
meters, or 1 hectare 62 centares (Act No. 1519,
section 3 paragraph u), for which reason the
land measuring six cavanes which was sold by
Miguela Tolentino to the defendant herein, the
only land which she had inherited from her
father, only contains 6 hectares, 3 ares and 72
centares, and not 12 hectares as was set forth
by the defendant in the document Exhibit 1,
which he prepared and had signed by the
vendor without her knowing its contents, for the
reason that she could neither read nor write.
It is unquestionable that the parcel of land
measuring one and one-half cavanes claimed
by the plaintiff has been usurped by the
defendant on the pretext that he had bought a
parcel of land from Miguela Tolentino bounded
on the north by the land in question, measuring
12 hectares, according to a notarial instrument
executed for the purpose by the vendor Miguela
Tolentino.
Miguela Tolentino, not being the owner of the
land in question, could not have disposed of the
property and transferred it to the defendant,
because she possessed no rights therein.
Ownership and other property rights
are acquired and transmitted by law,
by gift, by testate or intestate
succession, and, in consequence of
certain contracts, by tradition. (Article
609, Civil Code.)

If the dominion of the owner over the property


consists in the right to enjoy and dispose of the
same without further limitations than those
established by the law, Miguela Tolentino, not
being the owner or proprietor of the land in
litigation measuring one and one-half cavanes,
could not transfer the same to the defendant
Paraiso, and as the latter detains the land
without right or title which transferred to him the
dominion, the owner has the right to recover it,
since the defendant possesses the land in bad
faith, inasmuch as he was able to usurp the
land by means of a deed of sale of a separate
and distinct parcel of land which was described
therein as being larger than it actually was, with
the fraudulent intention of using the said deed
afterwards to secure the adjoining land of
Ildefonso Tolentino.
Among the three essential requisites indicated
by article 1261 of the Civil Code is to be fond
the consent of the contracting parties and a
definite object for the subject of the contract.
Ildefonso Tolentino did not give his consent to
his aunt Miguela Tolentino so that she might
sell the land in question to the defendant
Paraiso, and it is certain that the vendor
Miguela affirms that she only sold to the
defendant her own land which she inherited
from her parents; this parcel of land measured
6 cavanes of seed, and was the certain object
of the contract of sale (Exhibit 1). And when the
defendant extended his dominion over the
plaintiff's land of one and one-half cavanes
under the pretext that the vendor Miguela had
sold him 12 hectares of land, it cannot be

questioned that he performed a void and


fraudulent act with the fraudulent purpose of
usurping without any right the property of
Ildefonso Tolentino, whose rights over the land
in question cannot be annulled or destroyed by
the mere fact that in the deed of sale it
appeared the he had bought 12 hectares of
land when he had really brought only 6
cavanes, which are equivalent to 6 hectares, 3
ares and 72 centares, and when the vendor
affirms that she did not possess nor was she
the owner of any more land than this, and the
defendant was aware of the fact by the will
which transferred the ownership to the vendor,
for which reason the validity and efficacy of the
said document cannot produce any effect
except on the land really sold; it cannot affect
the plaintiff's land which, although it is adjoining,
is separate and does not belong to the vendor.
For the foregoing considerations, whereby the
errors attributed to the judgment appealed from
are refuted, we should, as we do hereby, affirm
the said judgment in so far as it decides
favorably the action for recovery brought by the
plaintiff, and we order that the usurped land,
together with its fruits, be restored, with the
costs against the appellant. So ordered.

former has a right of action against the latter for


the recovery of the property or for damages for
the taking or retention, and he is entitled to his
choice of these two remedies. This is also a
right which may be transferred by the sale or
assignment of the property, and the transferee
can maintain either action against the
wrongdoer.
2. ID.; ID.; ID.; RESPONSIBILITY OF THE
SHERIFF. When, however, the owner seeks
to make the sheriff responsible for such
wrongful act he must, in order to preserve his
right against the sheriff, comply with the
provisions of section 451 of the Code of Civil
Procedure.
3.
LEVY
UPON
PROPERTY;
RESPONSIBILITY OF THE CREDITOR. If a
sheriff levies upon property at the instance of a
creditor and is indemnified by the latter, the
creditor is thenceforward liable for the acts of
the sheriff with respect to the property.
DECISION
WILLARD, J. :

Waite Vs. Peterson


SYLLABUS
1. WRONGFUL TAKING OF PROPERTY;
SALE OR TRANSFER; ACTION BY THE
TRANSFEREE. When the property of one
person is unlawfully taken by another, the

The appellant (Kwong We Shing) has not


caused the proof in this case to be brought
here. The only question therefore is whether the
facts admitted in the pleadings and those found
by the court below in its decision sustain the
judgment appealed from. That court found

among
other
things
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

as

"From the evidence presented at the trial, the


court finds that on December 8, 1905, one
Henry Manheim delivered to L.K. Tiao Eng a
diamond ring one consignment for 800 pesos,
to be returned, if not sold, in sixty days; that on
the 22d day of January, 1906, while the ring
was in the possession of L.K. Tiao Eng, the
defendant, as sheriff of Manila, levied upon the
said ring; that on the 23d day of January, 1906,
the aforementioned Henry Manheim, for value
received, assigned all his right to and interest in
said ring to the said plaintiff herein; that on the
25th day of January, 1906, the plaintiff made
demand upon the sheriff of Manila, who had
made the levy, as before said, for the said ring,
and alleged the value thereof to be 800 pesos;
that the sheriff was indemnified by the judgment
creditor, in whose favor the levy had been
made, as provided by law, and retained
possession of the ring and sold the same at
public sale; that the said Henry Manheim has
never been paid for the said ring, in accordance
with the terms of the contract hereinbefore
mentioned or any part thereof; that at the time
of the levy by the sheriff upon the said ring, as
before stated, the said Henry Manheim was the
owner of and entitled to possession of the said
ring; that while the ring was in the possession of
the sheriff the said Henry Manheim transferred
his ownership and right to possession of said
ring to plaintiff herein and that the plaintiff
thereupon became the owner and entitled to
possession of said ring."cralaw virtua1aw library

Judgment was rendered against both of the


defendants for the return of the ring, and, if that
could not be had, for the sum of 725 pesos,
with
interest,
and
costs.
I. The appellant claims that by the terms of
section 451 of the Code of Civil Procedure this
action can not be maintained by the plaintiff
because he was not the owner of the ring at the
time the levy was made. In other words, as we
understand it, his claim is that no action for the
value of the property taken can be maintained
except by the person who was the owner
thereof at the time it was seized by the sheriff.
We do not think that this contention can be
sustained. Said section 451 is as
follows:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph
"Claims by third persons to property levied on.
Property levied on can be claimed by a third
person as his property, by a written claim,
verified by the oath of such claimant, setting out
his title thereto, his right to possession thereof,
stating the ground of such title, and served
upon the governor, or his deputy, or officer
making the levy. The officer in such case is not
bound to keep the property, unless the plaintiff,
or the person in whose favor the writ of
execution runs, on demand, indemnify the
officer against such claim by an obligation,
signed by the plaintiff, with good and sufficient
surety, and no claim to such property shall be
valid against the officer, or shall be received or
be notice of any rights against him, unless
made as herein provided; but nothing herein
contained shall prevent such third person from
vindicating his claim to the property by any

proper

action."cralaw

virtua1aw

library

The vice in the argument of the appellant


consist in the fact that he assumes that section
451 is the only law which gives the plaintiff a
right of action against the sheriff, and that if he
is not included within that section, he can not
maintain any action. This is manifestly
erroneous. So far from being the origin of any
rights on the part of the owner of property
wrongfully taken by the sheriff, it is rather a
limitation upon his rights previously existing. If
property of a person is taken by the sheriff upon
an execution against another person, the sheriff
is liable thereof in the absence of statute, as
any private person would be. When ones
property is wrongfully taken by another, the
former has a right of action against the person
who interfered with his property, whether for the
recovery of the property itself or for damages
for its taking, and he has his choice of these
remedies. If section 451 did not exist, by the
general principles of the law the sheriff would
always be responsible for wrongfully taking the
property of another. For the purpose of limiting
the responsibility of the sheriff in such cases,
and to provided that some notice should be
given to him of the claims of third persons, this
section requires such third persons to make
such claims in writing, so that the sheriff, after
the notice is given to him, can decide for
himself whether he will proceed with the levy or
abandon
the
property.
The right of action given by the general
principles of law to the person whose property
has wrongfully been taken from him, either to

recover damages or the possession of the


property, is a right which can be transferred by
him, and his transferee can maintain either one
of these actions against the wrongdoer. On this
first claim of the appellant, then, the only
question is whether this section 451 has taken
away from the assignee of the owner his right to
maintain an action to recover the value of the
property.
An examination of the section will show that
there is no distinct statements therein, that the
claim can only be made by a person who was
the owner of the property at the time the levy
was made. As the section is written, we do not
think that it should be so construed. Such a
construction would, in case of the involuntary
transfer of rights, deprive the transferee of
actions which might be absolutely necessary to
him for the protection of his interest. If we so
construed the section, we should have the levy
his executor or administrator would have no
right to make a claim against the sheriff for the
return of the property and would be deprived of
an action against the sheriff for the recovery of
damages for such wrongful taking. The same
rule would have to be made if an order in
bankruptcy was passed against the owner of
the property the day after the levy. We do not
think that the section requires any such
construction.
II. It is further claimed by the appellant that in
no event should judgment have been entered
against him that is to say, against Kwong We
Shing. It will be noticed that the court found that
the sheriff was indemnified by the judgment

creditor. This statement is sufficient to make the


judgment creditor liable for the acts of the
sheriff. In the case of Lovejoy v. Murray (3 Wall.
U.S., 1) the court said, at page
9:jgc:chanrobles.com.ph

with the costs of this instance against the


appellant, Kwong We Shing. So ordered.

"The demand for indemnity, and the giving of it


by the defendants, proceeded upon the
supposition that the sheriff would without it go
no further in that direction, but would give up
the property to the claimant, the present
plaintiff, and make his peace on the best terms
he could. By the present statute of Iowa he had
a right to do this, if the plaintiff in attachment
refused to assume the hazard of indemnifying
him. And if there were no such statute, he had a
right to deliver the property to the claimant, and
risk a suit by the plaintiff in attachment rather
than a contest with a rightful claimant of the
goods.

This suit involves a boundary dispute between


owners of adjoining lots situated in the
poblacion of Miag-ao, Iloilo. Judgment was
rendered by the former Court of First Instance
of Iloilo, Branch III, 1 dismissing the Complaint
filed by private respondents, the NICOS, as well
as the Counterclaim of petitioners, the
FLORESES. Said Trial Court was of the opinion
that "neither the plaintiffs (the NICOS) nor the
defendants (the FLORESES) were able to
sufficiently establish that the areas claimed by
them really belong to them."

"The giving of the bond by the present


defendants must, therefore, be held equivalent
to a personal interference in the course of the
proceeding, by directing or requesting of the
defendants in attachment. In doing this they
assumed the direction and control of the
sheriffs future action, so far as it might
constitute a trespass, and they became to that
extent the principals, and he their agent in the
transaction. This made them responsible for the
continuance of the wrongful possession and for
the sale and conversion of the goods; in other
words, for all the real damages which plaintiff
sustained."cralaw
virtua1aw
library
The judgment of the court below is affirmed,

Flores vs IAC

On appeal by the NICOS, the then Intermediate


Appellate Court 2 reversed stating that "the
discrepancy in the area may not justify the
position of the lower Court in refusing to declare
who owns the disputed portion to check
constant strifes between the neighbors." It then
dispositively decreed:
WHEREFORE, the decision a
quo is hereby REVERSED
and set aside and another
one is rendered declaring
plaintiffs (the NICOS) as the
owners of the disputed
portion of 222 square meters,
more or less, as indicated in
the sketch (Exh. F); ordering

the
defendants
(the
FLORESES) to demolish the
fence erected by them and
intruding into the land of
plaintiff,
and
directing
defendants to surrender
possession thereof and to
desist from further disturbing
or claiming possession of the
disputed portion awarded to
the plaintiffs. No damages
and costs. (Emphasis ours).
Hence, this recourse by the FLORESES
seeking a reversal of the aforesaid judgment.
On 30 July 1986, after receiving the Comment
of the NICOS, we resolved to deny the Petition
for lack of merit.
Upon motion for reconsideration of the
FLORESES, on the ground that the Appellate
Court findings with respect to the areas of the
respective properties of the parties as well as
the disputed portion were "totally without factual
basis," we remanded the case on 21
September 1987 to respondent Appellate Court
for determination of the exact area in dispute "in
the interest of a more accurate determination of
the controversy" and to "DECIDE the case
accordingly." In effect, we had granted
reconsideration and reinstated the Petition.
On 12 April 1988, the Appellate Court
promulgated an Amended Decision 3 modifying
the area of the disputed portion to 199 square

meters only and maintaining the rest of its


dispositions. The FLORESES moved for
reconsideration urging that the Amended
Decision affirm instead the judgment of the Trial
Court in toto. This was denied by the Appellate
Court stating that the issue of ownership of the
disputed piece of land was before this Court;
that in so far as it was concerned its finding
thereon was final; and that it had already
resolved the true area of the disputed portion as
ordered by this Court.
Petitioners FLORESES then filed before the
Appellate Court a Manifestation and Motion
praying for the elevation of the case to this
Court for proper disposition. This was opposed
by respondents NICOS on the ground that the
Petition for certiorari with this Court had already
been denied for lack merit. On 25 August 1989
respondent Court rejected this contention and
ordered the elevation of the records to us since
it had already complied with our Resolution of
21 September 1987. We received the records
on 1 September 1989, and the case was
included in the Agenda of 18 September 1989.
With the area in controversy now accurately
determined by respondent Appellate Court, the
case is back with us for action on the Petition.
We resolved to give due course and to decide
the same.
The antecedent facts show that the NICOS own
Assessors Lot No. 71, located at the corner of
Delgado Street and the national highway, Miagao, Iloilo. The NICOS claim that the area of

their lot is 689 square meters as shown by Tax


Declarations (Exhibits "A", "A-1" and "B") and
the sketch plans duly certified by the Office of
the Provincial Assessor (Exhibits "C" and "D");
and that they have been in possession of that
property since 1936. On the other hand, the
FLORESES own the adjoining Assessors Lot
No. 72. Their allegation is that this lot has an
area of 3,173 square meters pursuant to the
Deed of Sale in their favor dated 11 January
1967 (Exhibit "11") and as shown by Tax
Declarations (Exhibits "1" to "5" inclusive). A
sketch plan however, also indicates that the
area is 3,083 square meters (Exhibit "7"). Both
lots are unregistered properties.
Sometime in 1975, the FLORESES constructed
a bamboo fence, and in 1978 March, a hollowblock fence to separate the two adjoining
properties, over the strong protest of the NICOS
who alleged that the construction encroached
upon a portion of their property. As the
FLORESES refused to heed the protest, on 19
April 1978, the NICOS filed an action for
"Recovery of Real Property with Damages"
before the Trial Court of Iloilo. During the
pendency thereof, the predecessor-in-interest
of the NICOS died and the latter, her children,
were substituted in her stead.
As heretofore stated, the Appellate Court, even
in its Amended Decision, ruled that the disputed
area of 199 square meters belong to the NICOS
and that the FLORESES should demolish the
fence they had erected as it intrudes into the
NICOS property.

After a review of the evidence, which we had


ordered
elevated,
we
find
some
misapprehension of facts by the Appellate
Court, sufficient to affect the outcome of the
case.
We derive our bearings from Exhibit "N", the
Report by the Commissioners appointed by the
Court, and Exhibit "N-1", the plan they had
submitted, both of which have been admitted by
the parties. From those documents, we find the
following as established: (1) the aggregate area
disputed is, indeed, 199 square meters, Lot A of
55 square meters being claimed by the
FLORESES, and Lot B of 144 square meters by
the NICOS, (2) the uncontested area belonging
to the NICOS is 419 square meters; while (3)
the uncontested area for the FLORESES is
2,883 square meters (all per Exhibit "N-1").
Like the Trial Court, we find that neither party
has proven its entitlement to the entire disputed
portion of 199 square meters. Much less has
either party convincingly shown the dividing line
between their two properties. All contrary to the
basic rule that in an action to recover, the
person who claims that he has a better right to
the property must prove both ownership and
identity (Laluan vs. Malpaya, L-21231, July
30,1975, 65 SCRA 494; Article 434, Civil
Code). Accordingly, we deem it best to divide
the disputed area between the parties equally,
or 99.5 square meters for each of them. This
will give the NICOS 518.5 square meters (419
sq. ms. + 99.5 sq. ms.), short by 170.5 square
meters of their claimed 689 square meters. The

FLORESES, for their part, will get 2,982.5


square meters (2,883 sq. ms. + 99.5 sq. ms.),
also less by 190.5 square meters from their
claim of 3,173 square meters. This, to the Court
is the most equitable solution considering the
attendant circumstances.

the expenses for survey and monumenting to


be borne equally by the parties. The concrete
fence that the FLORESES had constructed
shall be demolished at their expense. No costs.

The Appellate Court theory of acquisitive


prescription by the NICOS is not well taken.
While the NICOS may have been in possession
of their lot since 1936 in the concept of owners
and planted trees thereon, these are insufficient
to delineate boundaries. The bamboo fences
respectively built by the parties (Exhibit "P"),
relied upon by the Appellate Court, do not
conclusively appear either as clear dividing
lines. The sketch, Exhibit "F", neither
unmistakably proves ownership by the NICOS
of the disputed area of "222" square meters, as
found by respondent Court.

Alvir vs Vera

The FLORESES will necessarily have to


demolish their concrete fence and move it
towards the resulting boundary, but they have
only themselves to blame since they proceeded
with its construction despite the verbal and
written protests of the NICOS.
WHEREFORE, the judgment under review is
hereby SET ASIDE and another one rendered
declaring the NICOS the owners of Assessors
Lot No. 1 with an area of 518.5 square meters,
and the FLORESES, the owners of Assessors
Lot No. 2, with an area of 2,982.5 square
meters. The resulting boundary between the
two lots will have to be adjusted accordingly,

SO ORDERED.

RELOVA, J.:
Records show that petitioner Douglas B. Alvir
filed a complaint for unlawful detainer against
private respondents Bernardo Mollat and
Teresa Mollat, before the then Municipal Court
of San Juan, Rizal. Basis of the complaint is
that petitioner is the registered owner of a
residential lot, together with the improvements
thereon situated at No. 299 Verdun Street, San
Juan, Rizal and covered by Transfer Certificate
of Title No. 328543 of the Registry of Deeds of
Rizal. After said property had been adjudicated
to him as its new owner during the settlement of
the estate of his late father Dr. Antonio B. Alvir,
plaintiff (herein petitioner) wrote private
respondents to vacate the premises as he and
his family are in need of a place to live. This
was followed by another letter reiterating his
request which, however, the private
respondents ignored.
In their answer, private respondents alleged
that in November 1961 the late Dr. Antonio B.
Alvir entered into a contract of sale with Mr.
Howard J. Weber whereby the latter was given
the right to pay the full purchase price of the

property within two (2) years from the date of


the contract of sale; that private respondents
were allowed by Mr. Weber to occupy the
premises before the latter left for the United
States; and that they have been occupying the
property as tenants of said Mr. Weber.
After trial, the inferior court rendered judgment
in favor of herein petitioner Douglas B. Alvir,
ordering private respondents Bernardo and
Teresa Mollat "to vacate the premises occupied
by them at No. 299 Verdun Street, San Juan,
Rizal and to return possession thereof to the
plaintiff; to pay to the plaintiff the monthly rental
of P300.00 per month from May 25, 1972 until
the said defendants completely vacate the said
premises; [and] to pay to the plaintiff an
additional sum of P500.00 for attorney's fee
plus the cost of this action." (p. 77, Rollo)
Appeal from the decision of the inferior court
was taken by private respondents to the then
Court of First Instance of Rizal which set aside
the decision of the then municipal court of San
Juan, Rizal and dismissed the complaint.
Hence, this petition for review by way of
certiorari.
As found by respondent court, subject property
with an area of 502 square meters is situated in
San Juan, Rizal and covered by Transfer
Certificate of Title No. 328543 in the name of
petitioner Douglas B. Alvir as of May 25, 1971
when the estate of his father who died in 1951
was settled.

As its owner, petitioner contends that he is


entitled to the possession of the premises
against the private respondents with whom he
has no contract and, notwithstanding, refused
to vacate the same.
On the other hand, the private respondents
claim that they were authorized to stay in the
property by Mr. and Mrs. Howard Weber who
purchased it from the Alvirs in 1961. On this
point, respondent court said:
... As early as 1966, the Alvirs
and Weber seemed not to
agree as to the amount still
due the Alvirs from Weber
which prompted Weber to
deposit the amount which he
believed was the maximum
amount still due the Alvirs
with the Associated Banking
Corporation. On December 1,
1967, Weber wrote Antonio
Alvir, brother of the plaintiff,
with respect to the fencing of
the property covered by the
deed of sale between the
Alvirs and Webers (Exhibit 6A). As testified to by Antonio
Alvir, Weber has been
pressing Catalina Alvir to
deliver the title to the property
but Mrs. Alvir refused to do so
on the ground that the
payment made by Weber was
delayed.

From the evidence presented


by the defendants. it appears
that defendants are claiming
the right to possess the
property by virtue of the
authority of Weber who
claims to be the owner of the
property as per deed of sale
executed by the Alvirs in his
favor. The contention of the
Alvirs that they are not duty
bound to surrender the title to
the property on the ground
that Weber has not complied
with the conditions of the sale
are matters which should be
threshed out in a separate
proceedings and only until
these matters have been
clarified can it be said that
Weber has no right to the
property and, therefore, the
possession of the defendants
under Weber's authority is not
lawful
xxx xxx xxx
As a general rule, a mere
allegation by the defendant in
an ejectment case, that he is
the owner of the real property
involved therein, does not
and cannot divest the inferior
court of its jurisdiction over
the ejectment suit. However,

if it appears during the trial


that by the nature of the proof
presented, the question of
possession
cannot
be
property determined without
settling that of ownership,
then the jurisdiction of the
court is lost and the action
should be dismissed. (Torres
vs. Pea, 78 Phil. 231;
Pealosa vs. Garcia, 78 Phil.
245; Cruz vs. Garcia, 79 Phil.
1; Ganaynay vs. Sarmiento,
79 Phil. 36; Raymundo vs.
Santos, 93 Phil. 395; Dy Sun
vs. Brillantes, 93 Phil. 175;
Andres vs. Serrano, 101 Phil.
848; Songahid vs. Cinco, L14341, January 29, 1960 as
cited in 16 SCRA 677).
Plaintiff admitted that before
this case was filed, he came
across the deed of sale by
the Alvirs in favor of Weber
while sorting out papers
relevant to this case (tsn,
April 6, 1973, pp. 16-17). It is
surprising that Weber was not
made a party defendant he
being a party in interest. (pp.
73-74, 75, Rollo)
In actions of forcible entry and detainer, the
main issue is possession de facto,
independently of any claim of ownership or
possession de jure that either party may set

forth in his pleading. As incidents of the main


issue of possession de facto, the inferior court
can decide the questions of (a) whether or not
the relationship between the parties is one of
landlord and tenant; (b) whether or not there is
a lease contract between the parties, the period
of such lease contract and whether or not the
lease contract has already expired; (c) the just
and reasonable amount of the rent and the date
when it will take effect; (d) the right of the tenant
to keep the premises against the will of the
landlord; and (e) if the defendant has built on
the land a substantial and valuable building and
there is no dispute between the parties as to
the ownership of the land and the building, their
rights according to the Civil Code. Defendants'
claim of ownership of the property from which
plaintiff seeks to eject him is not sufficient to
divest the inferior court of its jurisdiction over
the action of forcible entry and detainer.
However, if it appears during the trial that the
principal issue relates to the ownership of the
property in dispute and any question of
possession which may be involved necessarily
depends upon the result of the inquiry into the
title, previous rulings of this Court are that the
jurisdiction of the municipal or city court is lost
and the action should be dismissed.
We have at bar a case where, in effect, the
question of physical possession could not
properly be determined without settling that of
lawful or de jure possession and of ownership
and hence, following early doctrine, the
jurisdiction of the municipal court over the
ejectment case was lost and the action should

have been dismissed. As a consequence,


respondent court would have no jurisdiction
over the case on appeal and it should have
dismissed the case as appealed from the
municipal court. However, in line with Section
11, Rule 40 of the Revised Rules of Court,
which reads
SEC. 11. Lack of jurisdiction.
A case tried by an inferior
court without jurisdiction over
the subject matter shall be
dismissed on appeal by the
Court of First Instance. But
instead of dismissing the
case, the Court of First
Instance in the exercise of its
original jurisdiction, may try
the case on the merits if the
parties therein file their
pleadings and go to the trial
without any objection to such
jurisdiction.
this Court held in Saliwan vs. Amores, 51
SCRA 329, 337, that dismissal "on the said
ground of lack of appellate jurisdiction on the
part of the lower court flowing from the
municipal court's loss of jurisdiction would lead
only to 'needless delay and multiplicity of suits
in the attainment of the same result' and
ignores, as above stated, that the case was
tried and heard by the lower court in the
exercise of its original jurisdiction by common
assent of the parties by virtue of the issues
raised by the parties and the proof presented by

them thereon." In a similar case, the Court ruled


that
As the justice of the peace
court of Hagonoy had no
jurisdiction to try the case on
the merits, the order
appealed from remanding the
case to that court must be, as
it is hereby, revoked; and, in
accord with the precedent
established in Cruz et al. vs.
Garcia et al., 45 Off. Gaz.,
227, and the decisions
therein cited, the case is
ordered returned to the Court
of First Instance of Bulacan
for that court to proceed with
the trial in the exercise of its
original jurisdiction. (Teodoro
vs. Balatbat, et al., 94 Phil.
247, 250).
ACCORDINGLY, the judgment of respondent
judge is hereby REVERSED and the case is
remanded to the Court of First Instance of Rizal
for that court to proceed with the trial in the
exercise of its original jurisdiction.
SO ORDERED.
Canlas vs. CA
Facts:
The private respondent own several parcels of

land located in Quezon City for which he is the


registered owner. He secured loans from L and
R corporations and executed deeds of
mortgage over the parcels of land for the
security of the same. Upon the maturity of said
loans, the firm initiated an extrajudicial
foreclosure of the properties in question after
private respondent failed to pay until maturity.
The private respondent filed a complaint for
injunction over the said foreclosure and for
redemption of the parcels of land. Two years
after the filing of the petition, private respondent
and L and R corporation entered into a
compromise agreement that renders the former
to be insured another year for the said
properties. Included in the stipulations were the
attorneys fees amounting to Php 100,000.00.
The private respondent however, remained to
be in turmoil when it came to finances and was
apparently unable to pay and secure the
attorneys fees, more so the redemption liability.
Relief was discussed by petitioner and private
respondent executed a document to redeem
the parcels of land and to register the same to
his
name.
Allegations were made by the private
respondent claiming the parcels of land to his
name but without prior notice, the properties
were already registered under the petitioners
name. The private respondent calls for a review
and for the court to act on the said adverse
claim by petitioner on said certificates for the
properties consolidated by the redemption price

he paid for said properties. The private


respondent filed a suit for the annulment of
judgment in the Court of appeals which ruled
over
the
same.

Issue: whether the petitioner is on solid ground


on the reacquisition over the said properties.
Ruling:
By Atty. Canlas' own account, "due to lack of
paying capacity of respondent Herrera, no
financing entity was willing to extend him any
loan with which to pay the redemption price of
his mortgaged properties and petitioner's
P100,000.00 attorney's fees awarded in the
Compromise Judgment," a development that
should have tempered his demand for his fees.
For obvious reasons, he placed his interests
over and above those of his client, in opposition
to his oath to "conduct himself as a lawyer ...
with all good fidelity ... to [his] clients." The
Court finds the occasion fit to stress that
lawyering is not a moneymaking venture and
lawyers are not merchants, a fundamental
standard that has, as a matter of judicial notice,
eluded not a few law advocates. The
petitioner's efforts partaking of a shakedown" of
his own client are not becoming of a lawyer and
certainly, do not speak well of his fealty to his
oath to "delay no man for money."
We are not, however, condoning the private
respondent's own shortcomings. In condemning
Atty. Canlas monetarily, we cannot overlook the

fact that the private respondent has not settled


his liability for payment of the properties. To
hold Atty. Canlas alone liable for damages is to
enrich said respondent at the expense of his
lawyer. The parties must then set off their
obligations against the other.